An estimated seven to 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease. Each year, 60 thousand Americans become diagnosed with PD, according to PDF. PD involves the malfunctions and death of nerve cells in the brain, called neurons. The symptoms continue and unfortunately worsen overtime. Some of these dying neurons produce dopamine. It’s a chemical that send messages to the brain that controls movements and coordination. PD is the most common movement disorder and there is no current cure.
Unfortunately many well-known athletes suffer from the disease. Muhammad Ali became diagnosed just three years after announcing his retirement in 1984. Brian Grant, an NBA superstar played for 12 seasons before becoming diagnosed. Ben Petrick, an MLB superstar was struck with the disease in 2000 but played an additional four years before retiring.
Ali, philanthropist Jimmy Walker, and Abraham Lieberman, MD, established the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center. The center works with patients, provides education and outreach opportunities to spread awareness.
Now, boxing is becoming popular and beneficial in the Parkinson’s community.
Rock Steady Boxing is a nonprofit gym located in Indianapolis. They’re the frontiers of battling this horrid disease through concentrated boxing exercises. They offer boxing classes targeted for the Parkinson’s community. The classes proved that anyone can lessen their condition and live a healthier lifestyle. Rock Steady Boxing’s training is spreading nationwide.
“You treat them like fighters because that’s what they’re doing,” said Steve Arintok, Rock Steady Boxing trainer.