Can pickleball help someone who has Parkinson’s? You bet

(March 20, 2017 Charlotte, NC,

“The big thing about people with Parkinson’s is they have a decrease in dopamine, a chemical in the brain that triggers a lot of their Parkinson’s symptoms,” said Ann Marie Oprikat, executive director of the Parkinson Association of the Carolinas. “The doctors tell them that exercise, exercise, exercise is important in bumping that up, but also medication. “People are always looking for something they can do. It used to just be yoga. Then it was cycling. Now we’ve got Pickleball for Parkinson’s.”

The concept for the local Parkinson’s program originated with a USA Pickleball district ambassador in Raleigh who reached out to local ambassadors Dick and Desire’ Osman, who live in Ballantyne.

“It’s a very easy game to learn and an easy game to play,” said Dick Osman. “There’s a lot of quick movement. There’s not nearly as much hard running as there is in tennis, which is a reason why it appeals to senior citizens quite a bit. But it’s a sport for people of all ages.

“With its therapeutic benefits we said let’s see what we can do for the Parkinson’s population and try to build some more play here at Marion Diehl.”

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