Oct. 5, 2007
QUEENS, N.Y. - James McKinstry, a former St. John's dual-sport student-athlete, competed in the 2007 USTA 5.0 Adult League National Championships in late September while continuing his battle with Type 1 diabetes. McKinstry played tennis and football for the Red Storm from 1999-2001.
"He was very dedicated to sports, and his efforts were inspiring to many of our student-athletes, as well as our athletic training staff," said Ron Linfonte, Assistant Athletics Director for Sports Medicine. "He was one of the first diabetic student-athletes we had at St. John's, and would even bring me the latest articles and research on Type 1 diabetes."
McKinstry, a 27-year-old from Huntington, Long Island, N.Y., has been battling diabetes since the age of 16, joining 21 million Americans that have the disease. Using insulin shots which he has to administer five to six times per day, McKinstry is able to regulate his blood sugar, even when he is on the tennis court.
McKinstry found new life in tennis after setbacks during his teenage years, when he was in and out of doctors' offices trying to diagnose his illness. After suffering a severe back injury playing basketball, he was forced to take a year off after high school to get his physical state settled.
McKinstry was offered a tennis scholarship from St. John's University and was a member of the tennis team from 1999-2001. He was a promising athlete who was able to play two sports during the 2000-01 academic year. Prior to his junior year, a conversation with his father, James Sr., who played professional football with the New York Jets in the 1960s, inspired him to walk onto the Red Storm gridiron squad. He was a member of the St. John's football team for the Fall 2000 season, until his career as a collegiate athlete was cut short by a hamstring injury.
McKinstry is currently pursuing a Master's degree in education at the University, while working as a financial analyst for Bear Stearns. He also returned to playing tennis, as a way for him to relax and prevent the disease from controlling his life.
McKinsty entered the 2007 USTA 5.0 Adult league National Championships last month, knowing that activity would improve his circulation, which is especially important for diabetics.
"Keeping active is a way to prevent [the disease] from getting worse," McKinstry told the USTA.