Packing a punch against Parkinson's

About 60 Parkinson's patients in West Lafayette are benefitting from a boxing program.

Posted: Apr. 17, 2019 6:55 PM
Updated: Apr. 17, 2019 10:03 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Parkinson's disease can certainly pack a punch.

Dan Grayson was diagnosed years ago. 

"It attacks the brain first, and then it works its way to the rest of the body," said Grayson. "I'm twice as strong, if not more, since I started the program."

Grayson attends Rock Steady Boxing classes at Westminster three times a week.

"I'll soon be 70," said Grayson.

Yet, there he was Wednesday doing sets of "cross, cross, hooks" and lifting weights. 

"Three weeks ago, we threw 1,000 punches in an hour," said Grayson. 

Research shows the program slows the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

"They get stronger, their balance improves, there's not as much stumbling around," explained Wellness Coach Courtney Meyer. 

The physical benefits are obvious but Grayson didn't expect the emotional and mental benefits of Rock Steady Boxing.

"You learn something new every day," said Grayson. 

You also build lasting friendships.

"It really is a family here," said Meyer. 

"We help each other with lots of things, we go out to dinner together," said Grayson. "On Sundays, we have meetings where we share who is on what kind of medication, what works best."

Grayson said he's constantly recruiting other patients to the support group.

"If you have Parkinson's first of all, don't be embarrassed or ashamed by it," said Grayson. 

And second, he recommends joining a Rock Steady Boxing class as soon as possible. It might not be easy at first.

"Parkinson's one, Dan, zero," explained Grayson, as he reminisced about the first few sessions. 

But soon enough, he settled the score.

"Parkinson's two, Dan two," said Grayson. "It hasn't stopped me from doing what I've wanted to do at this point."

Grayson said he will keep going to classes for as long as he can.

For more information on the program, click here. 

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