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Tulsa Boxing Program Helps Those Suffering From Parkinson's Disease

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

Kinny Spotwood has made some knockouts in the ring; now, his aim is to make a knockout helping people cope with Parkinson's disease.

It all started when he was up late watching TV one night.

“There was a story on Parkinson's boxing,” he said. “I started boxing, and it really sparked my interest. I was like, ‘Man, this is meant to be.’"

After a career playing for TU football, the Arena League and then switching to a career in Boxing and MMA, Spotwood decided there's more to boxing.

After getting certified, he started teaching for Rocksteady boxing helping those suffering from Parkinson's disease improve their quality of life. Each week, members that are new comers or experienced train like they would a boxer.

"It's so much fun,” said Spotwood. “I mean, different characters, different backgrounds, they're fighting for their lives. They come in every day and work their butts off.”

Working the bag and working the floor to ceiling ball all goes toward helping take away their tremors, helping with hand eye coordination and over body strength.

It also helps the brain, cognitively learning different boxing combinations, such as a simple jab and hook combo,

"It definitely makes them think a lot,” Spotwood stated. “People think boxing is just physical but it has mental down falls too, so it helps them think and how to work through stuff."

Laurie Witt was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease three years ago. A year ago, she started boxing.

"It's kept my balance going,” said Witt. “I can write better. I get through the day better. I have more strength and stamina and my tremors are less."

She added, "Any combo that you can get down, any punches that you can do in sequence, you just get excited because you're like, 'I can do this!'"

Spotwood said it may take up to six months to get to a level that Witt is at, but seeing them improve is the biggest joy.

"When they first come in, they're taking small steps,” he explained. “Couple months into it, they're taking huge steps walking normal. I just love to see the improvements and how far they've come along."

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