Something wasn't right with DeAndre Carter.
Back when the Chargers wide receiver was 14 years old, Carter was feeling sluggish all the time.
He was drinking tons of water and sleeping more, a byproduct of what Carter thought were tough football workouts.
But when he couldn't catch his breath during one practice, a trip to the emergency room revealed that the teenager had Type 1 diabetes.
"I just thought it was because I was working out a lot," Carter said. "It was new to me. Being a kid, just having to check your blood sugar at school in front of your friends, give yourself insulin, it could make you feel like an outcast at first.
"But I got used to it and people got used to it and all my friends were great about it and didn't make me feel weird," Carter added. "It could just be a lot for a kid to deal with."
Fifteen years after his initial diagnosis, Carter is thriving with the Bolts while also managing his diabetes.
And he was proud to represent the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation by wearing cleats that sported the organization's logo Sunday against the Raiders.
"I liked the red because it pops out against our yellow and blue," Carter said. "The color scheme was awesome."
Carter explained why he chose to showcase the JDRF during the NFL's My Cause My Cleats initiative.
"It means a lot to me. I know how difficult it is for a kid to go through that in high school and all that and how much of a life change that is," Carter said. "Just trying to spread awareness but also let kids know that as long as you manage it and take care of it well, there's nothing you can't do.
"I'm able to live out my dream and do everything I've wanted to do even though I have it,' Carter added.
The 29-year-old said he checks his blood sugar roughly a half-dozen times a day. And it's even more on game days when he checks it after each quarterly to make sure his levels are where they should be.
Carter also focused on a low-carb diet and workouts that help keep him healthy.
"It's a testament to my doctors and putting a great program in place, even during practice and games," Carter said.
Carter has been an unheralded key player for the Chargers in multiple phases this season.
Offensively, he has set career bests with 39 catches for 466 yards and has tied his season-high with three touchdowns.
And he's provided a spark on special teams, too, as his 11.7 yards per punt return is a career best and also ranks fourth in the NFL.
"He's been an invaluable player for us. Just a true example of a professional," Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley said of Carter last week. "He's an example of who we want to try to build this football team with because he does so many things for us.
"He has just made a lot of winning plays for us the entire season and he has been there for us in the clutch. He has earned the trust of Justin [Herbert] and our offensive coaches in every way," Staley continued. "Then, certainly, in terms of the special teams culture, I think you are seeing he has had an outstanding year on punt returns for us.
"Just a consummate pro and super excited that he plays for us," Staley added.
In the midst of a career year, Carter said he wanted to let other youth diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes know that their dreams and goals are still more than attainable.
"It's an added hurdle I have to deal with on a day-to-day basis, but I'm proud of everything I've accomplished," Carter said. "The sky is the limit. There's nothing you can't do out there in the world because of diabetes."
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