LA Tech's "Rock Steady Boxing" helping people fight Parkinson's Disease

Courtesy: KNOE 8 News
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RUSTON, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Deep in the heart of Ruston, Louisiana Tech is offering a program that certainly hits a nerve.

"If we could help, we felt like it was something we needed to do," Director of Recreation Bobby Dowling said.

What they're doing is called Rock Steady Boxing. But why, you ask?

"[Because] They go from tremors, to rock steady," Trainer Johnny Mitchell said.

An hour and a half of floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee, for patients who've been stung for life by Parkinson's. But, since they started the program on October first, it's relieved some of the pain, and helped calm their tremors.

"They're stronger, their faster, they're more determined," one of the boxers, Dr. Larry Neal said.

Neal was an ENT specialist until he got hit by the disease just a few years ago. That's when he started his research, and found Rock Steady Boxing in Indiana. He knew once he saw it, he had to bring it home to Ruston.

"Parkinson's steals your confidence, steals your ability to do simple things. unfortunately there's no cure. what we do is reduce symptoms waiting for somebody to find a cure for this thing."

From there, it was all about recruitment. Brad Jones was one of those recruits. He's been fighting this for almost four years and says since he started, he's never felt better..

"It gives me a little more energy, which somebody my age probably needs," the 74-year-old Jones said.

And that's all the coaches could ask for.

"You get to make a difference," Mitchell said. "You're connecting with someone in a way that's truly, truly rewarding from heart to heart."

And for these Parkinson's patients, hitting the heavy bag helps just as much mentally, as it does physically.

"We all have the same problem, we're all looking for the same solution," Neal said. "Some of us are a little further along the line than others, but the team concept has caught on."

A team full of bulldogs fighting to win a round against this debilitating disease.