Knocking Out Parkinson’s: Part 2

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Monday on News 4 you met Dean Eoannou. He’s a 15-year boxing coach at the University at Buffalo. He gave up his dream of training champion fighters to train people with Parkinson’s.

Everyone who trains at the gym is surprised to see how far they’ve come, some in just a few short months. Moira Schorr, a former marathon runner, now has her bounce back. She said, “I feel good, and I can do every day what I want to do and Parkinson’s so far doesn’t hold me back. We all have hope, and it takes a lot of hope and motivation to do this kind of thing.”

Eoannou works one on one with each client, tracking their progress everyday in these journals.

Retired Family Physician, Dr. Stuart Rubin, calls it “beautiful” to see the progress his wife Barbara has made working with Eoannou. “The results have been dramatic,” he said. “There is definite evidence in the medical literature to say that non contact boxing is beneficial for Parkinson’s, but what I see here is just dramatic, I mean with everybody here.”

It’s been about a decade since talks began connecting Parkinson’s and boxing therapy. Doctors tell us why it’s a winning combination. President of TeamHealth Ambulatory Care, Dr. Joseph Chow, said,” The exercise needs to focus on aerobic activity, some strength training and balance, and stretching. So with boxing, you almost have a perfect combination with all three.”

When you’re diagnosed with Parkinson’s, the dopamine cells in the brain die off. Nobody knows why, but it happens. Initially doctors said these cells cant regenerate, but now there’s evidence that it can.

Rubin said, “So you wonder whether exercise is able to produce some regeneration of some of these cells, increase dopamine levels and get improvement.”

Dr. Chow said, “The treatment is aimed towards increasing the amount of dopamine in your brain or mimicking the dopamine in your brain.”

So we asked Eoannou as a Coach, whats his secret to success? “The secret is, if you understand balance, and then you have the skill sets to challenge them,” he said.

And this life has made him think about his own goals. He said, “It makes you re-prioritize what you think about your own life, or what you strive for. It doesn’t mean anything. These guys would give up everything you hold dearly to be back to where they were so that’s what happened to me. It’s a great life.”

If you want to learn more about Boxing Fights Parkinsons you can contact Dean Eoannou at his website, or email him at DEoannou@yahoo.com

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