In January 2002, a devastating economic crisis in Argentina led to political and social turmoil, forcing many families to flee the country.

Juan Cruz “JC” Aragone, today a 27-year-old professional tennis player, was directly impacted by these events.

“My family decided to move from Argentina to the United States roughly when I was 8 years old," Aragone says. "It was an extremely difficult transition so I kind of turned to tennis as this escape. And I just immediately fell in love with it.”

Growing up in Tustin, Calif. Aragone's relationship with tennis quickly blossomed, and did his results on the court.

By age 16, he proved himself to be one of the better junior players in the nation, reaching the semifinals of both the Easter Bowl and Kalamazoo in 2011.

But soon after while training at USTA Player Development in Boca Raton, Fla., Aragone started coming down with flu-like symptoms. He tried to push through it, but the fever increased; soon after, his body broke out in hives. By this point, Aragone could not even stand to get out of bed.


“I ended up flying immediately to the ER. It was almost like as soon as I got there I immediately fell into a coma, I just couldn’t really take it anymore. Before, I was battling on the court, and now I was battling in the hospital.

“So when I woke up, it’s just like waking up from a dream, I was out for like two weeks. I have no real recollection of that time and what made it worse was that no one really knew what was going on.”

Aragone remained in the hospital for the next few months for tests as doctors tried various methods to figure out what caused his illness. Eventually, the doctors reached the conclusion that because of all the stress his body went through, Aragone was now diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes—a disease with no known cure.

“It was difficult hearing the doctors say that you might not be able to play tennis at the level that you want to ever," he says. "You have to pause your tennis and figure out how this is going to affect your body, how it is going to affect your life. And that to me was not how I was going to go about it. They were worried about keeping me healthy as a Type 1 Diabetic and I wanted to be healthy as a Type 1 Diabetic that was also a highly competitive athlete.”


Aragone felt increased anxiety as colleges and universities that were once offering him athletic scholarships were all of a sudden disappearing. All but one school remained in his corner throughout his entire ordeal and battle in the hospital.

“I want to give a lot of credit to the head men’s tennis coach at the University of Virginia, Brian Boland, because when I was in the hospital they were probably the only college that called me, and they had not changed their mind at all," Aragone says. "They said after everything that you have been through, it’s going to make you a better person and player down the road.”

While attending the University of Virginia, Aragone helped the team win three consecutive NCAA Division I Championships. At the same time, he learned more about himself and his lifelong battle with Type 1 Diabetes.

“I really learned that there is no exact formula to treating Type 1 Diabetes. It’s more about adapting and adjusting day in and day out. Now, when I look back, I don’t know how I got through it. But I am happy that I did and learned a ton about myself both in the classroom and as a Type 1 Diabetic as well.”

"It was an extremely difficult transition so I kind of turned to tennis as this escape. And I just immediately fell in love with it.”

"It was an extremely difficult transition so I kind of turned to tennis as this escape. And I just immediately fell in love with it.”


After graduation, Aragone turned down a full-time job offer on Wall Street in order to pursue his dream as a professional tennis player. And while the results have not always gone his way, it’s his resilience that will lead him to more success in his life after tennis, and also helping others diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

“I really struggle to play tennis and be a Type 1 Diabetic and I am out here doing it every single day trying to find a way," he says. "If I can do it I felt like others could do it.

"Regardless of what I do down the road, I am still going to find a way to be active and play tennis and try to get more Type 1 Diabetics to play the sport I love”.