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Boxing offers a new approach to help slow progression for those battling Parkinson’s Disease

Those fighting Parkinson’s disease find joy and benefits in boxing.

BETTENDORF, Iowa – Boxing is a new approach that is helping fight those suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.  For six-year Parkinson’s patient, Jim Briggs; the disease is a never-ending fight.

“Yeah, you can sit there and take the medication, but if you don’t exercise and get out of the chair and keep moving forward, the disease is going to take over,” says Briggs.

Briggs is one of the Parkinson’s patients through Rock Steady Boxing who comes to the TBK Bank Sports Complex weekly to work on slowing his progression of the disease.  The program teaches them how to combat everyday tasks to boxing.

“The punching bag is Parkinson’s – I take my aggression out on that,” Briggs comments.  “There are days you want to just scream, but the punching bag will take care of that.”

When patients come to the class weekly, they start to see benefits.

“They are working on things like speed, agility, things that boxers work on – balance and coordination,” says Danielle Roberts one of the program’s coaches.

But, Briggs also fights Parkinson’s with his sense of humor.

“You have to laugh at yourself and let the disease know you aren’t going to let it take over,” Briggs emphasizes.

“Jim is a huge "jokester", constantly messing around and trying to have fun make it light,” comments Roberts. “He’s always trying to encourage all the other boxers, which is really helpful.”

What they benefit from the most is working with everyone involved in the program.

“We all help each other, we are all a big support group,” Briggs says.

A group that’s in this never-ending fight, together.

20 people participate in the program that meets every Monday and Wednesday.  The class is run through Genesis Health System and new members are always welcome.