UTSW School of Health Professions alumnus Dr. Michael Braitsch demonstrates boxing techniques to a class participant in a research study designed for patients with Parkinson’s disease. (Photo courtesy of The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center)
By NYSHICKA JORDAN, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Judy Danielson, 61, is a Parkinson’s disease patient and she’s a boxer.
When she was diagnosed three years ago, she couldn’t imagine that these two descriptors could fit together.
The first thing I thought of [after being diagnosed] was: This is not the plan I had for my life. This is not what my retirement was going to be. I’m not in a relationship, I’m single — what’s going to happen to me? Who’s going to take care of me? Ms. Danielson said.
As Parkinson’s progresses, it burdens patients with tremors and makes it difficult for them to walk or control their balance and movements, among other symptoms.
Ms. Danielson, a patient at UT Southwestern, had experienced a series of falls, so when her physical therapist recommended she participate in a research program studying the effects boxing has on the symptoms of Parkinson’s patients, she feared falling again.
But Ms. Danielson decided to give the class a try anyway.