Mark Richt is fighting Parkinson’s — literally.
Using non-contact boxing exercises, Richt, a former UGA football coach, works out at D1 Training Athens to help slow the disease’s progression. The concept comes from Rock Steady Boxing, which works to help those with Parkinson’s disease extend their capabilities.
More than 1 million people in the United States have Parkinson’s, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation. Richt said he first heard about Rock Steady when he announced his diagnosis in 2021.
“When I made it public on my Twitter account, I had a lot of people come to me with ideas of how to treat it,” Richt said. “Rock Steady kept coming up over and over.”
— Mark Richt (@MarkRicht) July 1, 2021
His sister, Mikki Hynes, is his instructor, and when he brought the idea to her, she said she was “all in.”
It’s not a cure, but Philip Tomporowski, a UGA professor of kinesiology, believes this strategy can help.
“I think that with repetition, in boxing or tai chi or any one of many activities that involve major muscle groups and control, you’re gonna find some advantages,” Tomporowski said.
Richt said he appreciates the exercise, but is even more grateful for the community he has been able to meet through Rock Steady.
“The exercise is great, and all the science behind it is great, but you know we’re a family,” Richt said. “We’re a community of people that are dealing with the same stuff. In the end, we know we gotta enjoy every day the best we can. Just keep fighting.”
McGregor Rowland and Owen Burtt are journalism majors at the University of Georgia.
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