06/20/2012 05:47 pm ET

Nicole Madsen, 19, Overcomes Diabetes To Compete In 2012 X Games

At first glance, Nicole Madsen might seem like a typical 19-year-old. She's a freshman at Taft College in California, but when she's not hitting the books, Madsen is practicing to be the biggest star of the summer X Games. Madsen will compete in endurocross, a motocross event, in July -- and she's overcome a big health obstacle to get there.

According to KERO, Madsen, who has Type 1 diabetes, competes with an insulin pump to keep her safe. If she ever has an accident while racing that damages the pump, she could put her health at risk -- but she is determined to compete alongside the other racers despite this danger.

Her big debut has been years in the making. After winning the World Off Road Championship Series Woman "B" and Woman "A" titles, Madsen turned pro at just 16 when she signed with the Warhawkmx team. She competed in two races on the team's roster that year. Earlier this month, she finished in the top 5 in a race in Sacramento, qualifying her for the X Games.

"I am beside myself. I can't even describe how excited and happy I am," she told KERO.

According to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of teens in the U.S. with diabetes or pre-diabetes has nearly tripled in the past decade, jumping from 9 to 23 percent from 1999 to 2008.

While diabetes can be a significant obstacle, Madsen isn't the first athlete to conquer it. Ginger Vieira also has Type 1 diabetes, but that hasn't stopped her from setting 15 national records in power lifting. Last year, Vieria published a diabetes management book, "Your Diabetes Science Experiment."

And in Canada, high school senior Melissa Boettcher -- who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 10 -- is still pursuing her hoop dreams. She helped her team reach the provincial championships two years in a row and was honored with a local Adversity Award.

Have you ever overcome a challenge, big or small, to achieve your dreams? Share your story in the comments below or tweet your thoughts @HuffPostTeen!