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Parkinson’s… and Boxing Helps…You Kidding Me? Part 1

Posted by Pete | Posted in Downloads, News | Posted on 03-03-2019


Rock Steady Boxing

Part 1

Introduction to Rock Steady Boxing in Huntsville, Alabama

Coauthored by Carolyn Rhodes & Otis Vaughn February 28,2019

Those with Parkinson’s Disease now have Rock Steady Boxing as a proven way to fight back against the devastating effects of the disease. This article introduces those who have PD, as well as their families, to the health benefits you can achieve with Rock Steady Boxing.

The authors of this article are based in Huntsville, Alabama. As you read this article you will notice that we call our organization: Rock Steady Boxing Rocket City. Rock Steady comes from the benefits that boxing provides to those with PD and gives them the hope that their shaking and other symptoms will calm down and they will be rock steady because of their participation in boxing.Huntsville, AL is called the Rocket City because much of the original rocket development and production in the U.S. was done on the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal located adjacent to Huntsville. At the conclusion of WWII, Dr. Wernher von Braun and his group of German scientists and engineers surrendered to the Americans, and the U.S. government located them in Huntsville so they could work on Redstone Arsenal and develop our missile and space industry. These brilliant scientists and engineers became U.S. citizens, and they did indeed lead our efforts as we learned to build and did, in fact, build many rockets and other items necessary for space exploration. The largest rocket ever built is named the Space Launch System and is being managed and built in Huntsville. That is why the citizens of Huntsville, AL takes great pride in calling our city the The Rocket City.

There are Rock Steady Boxing organizations all over the U.S. and even internationally.Those wanting to participate in Rock Steady Boxing should be able to find an organization that sponsors RSB in their own city or community. We are an affiliate of the National and International Rock Steady Boxing organization. Our organization has grown so rapidly and with such success that Rock Steady Boxing Rocket City has been named one of the six regional training organizations in the U.S., and we will assume that role on April 20, 2019. Many coaches will come to Huntsville to be trained in coaching Rock Steady Boxing.

When you finish reading Part I of this article, remember to continue to read Part II which is a personal account by one who has benefited from Rock Steady Boxing.

RSB Mission Statement: Rock Steady Boxing helps people with Parkinson’s disease maintain their physical independence, improve their quality of life and restore confidence and dignity while they wait for a cure. RSB empowers people with Parkinson’s to “fight back”. Boxers condition for optimal agility, speed, muscular endurance, accuracy, hand-eye coordination, footwork and overall strength to defend against and overcome opponents. At RSB, Parkinson’s is the opponent.

Rock Steady Boxing Rocket City is a non-contact boxing program that was developed to help fight the effects of Parkinson’s disease. Several medical studies over a twelve-year period have concluded that the Forced, Intense, Explosive action of boxing training is an effective form of exercise for people living with PD. This fitness program is dramatically improving the ability of people with Parkinson’s to live independent lives, increasing their self-worth, sense of efficacy and quality of life. Recent studies also show that this form of exercise may be “neuro-protective,” actually working to delay the progression of symptoms.

Rock Steady Boxing is a first-of-its-kind organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Patients at all levels of symptom progression are seeing improved motor function as a result of intense non-contact, boxing style exercise. We’re proud to say that Rock Steady Boxing Rocket City has joined the fight against Parkinson’s disease right here in Huntsville!

Medical research is proving early validation of the effects of forced or intense exercise:

In the words of the neurological specialists:

“Twenty-five percent of my patients come from Rock Steady… the changes to their speech, to their cognition, are much slower in those patients. They don’t get worse as quickly, and they tend to be better cognitively for longer.” – Jessica Huber, Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences Associate Professor, Purdue University

“The results from Rock Steady are awesome and impressive…at the end of a two-year study; the boxers had much better results than those who did typical exercise three days each week.” Stephanie Combs-Miller, PT, Ph.D., NCS Associate Professor and Director of Research, Krannert School of PT, U of Indianapolis

Rock Steady Boxing Rocket City was brought to the community through the Huntsville Madison County Senior Center but serves adults with Parkinson’s of any age. We are one of 713 Rock Steady Boxing affiliates world-wide.

We meet at a local gym where our 50 volunteers help our 117 plus ‘boxers’ find that HOPE is in their corner.

We have started to accomplish our goal in that, when people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s in our community, their doctor follows that diagnosis with, “but there is a gym down the street where you can fight back and find HOPE.”

General Information:

FUNDING FOR QUALITY OF LIFE: Millions of dollars are allocated each year by Parkinson’s foundations to “find a cure”. While that is a very noble and necessary endeavor, there are few organizations that are focusing on quality of life TODAY. Rock Steady Boxing aims to improve the quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s, until a cure is found.

Funds will be used to support operating expenses to include volunteer training, additional coach certification, independent contractor fees, to increase hours of part-time staff, add additional staff, equipment, insurance, utility and gym rental fees.

Rock Steady is promoted through local and regional neurologist referrals, the Senior Center’s monthly Senior Life Magazine with a publication of 6,000, word of mouth, multiple local media outlets and ongoing presentations to professional organizations.

Dr. Amit Arora asked us to give a presentation to the annual Neurology Conference in May of 2018 because he wanted to spread the word about his Parkinson’s patients that are boxers successfully managing their symptoms. He and his office staff stated that they can see when a patient walks in the office which ones are boxers by their posture, gait, voice, strength and confidence. Since Parkinson’s is a degenerative disease, their patients usually get worse, but since taking part in RSB, they see improvements in their patients for the first time!

How Rock Steady Boxing Rocket City is Financed

Communities recognizing the need for Rock Steady boxing will need to raise their own funds to support the program. In Huntsville, we are fortunate to have dedicated leadership and the medical community support for our program. Our local doctors recognize the benefits of Rock Steady Boxing, and they encourage their patients to participate. Our total budget is $75,000 per year.

Boxers pay $35 each per month (120 active boxers, with 38 inactive currently). We are adding 6 boxers on average each month.

Coach certification costs $500 for each coach. We sponsor the training for 3 new coaches per year.

Head Coach stipend is $500 each month.

Boxing Coach Stipend is $250 each month.

Utility Bill $150-$500 a month.

Gym Rental Fee $2800 a month

Our next Goal is: Ownership of 10-12,000 square ft building on 2 acres for North Alabama Parkinson’s Support Center where many programs can be held such as: The PD Support Group, Rock Steady Boxing, PD Dance Program, LOUD Crowd Voice Program ©, PD Music, PD Yoga, PD Cycling etc. The estimated cost for this facility is $3,000,000.

Comments (3)

I only know enough about Parkinson’s Disease to fear it, but I was very interested in this article in a “What if?” scenario. It was good to know that there is something available to Parkinsons’ patients that is effective, yet reasonably inexpensive like a boxing therapy regimen. I know no one in the advance stages of the disease and only a few in the beginning stages. Parkinsons disease is like leprosy in that respect. One often hears about it when a person is diagnosed but often loses track of that person during the progress of the disease. Any program is excellent that allows a person with Parkinsons Disease to maintain a useful place in society without being banned, like leprosy patients, to the fringes of it.

Thanks, Errol….I am so glad that Otis happened to find out about this program and pleased that he and Mrs. Rhodes chose to share these articles with hesterbooks.com.

Mrs. Rhodes and Otis, thank you both for a well written and important message.

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