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Tennis Therapy for Parkinson's
BETC Court Report, March, 2019


By Mike Sellars.  Parkie, RSB affiliate, coach and boxer.  And, tennis player.


I’ve been a Lone Ranger all my professional and personal life. When I joined BETC, it took a couple years for me to feel like I had friends in the club. The Lone Ranger now rides in a really big posse of BETC tennis buddies.

Parkinson’s is a progressive, degenerative disease that affects my balance, agility, speed and personality. It makes me move, think and talk slower. It makes me stiff and my body ache. You may have noticed the tremor in my hand. The toughest symptoms of Parkinson’s are still in front of me… giving up the car keys, falls, a broken hip and living in fear and pain. Mr. Parkinson’s thinks I should just give up tennis and stay home. Fat chance.

Parkinson’s symptoms can be reversed, reduced or delayed through intense exercise therapy. If I work hard enough, I can fight the anticipated 8-10 good years and give my family 15 or more good years. Exercise helps my body produce dopamine which I need to stay strong and tennis is just what the doctor ordered. I don’t think of tennis as a game. I think of it as therapy. Tennis requires forward, back and lateral movement and balance. It requires speed, cognitive awareness and quick reactions. Serving, overheads, forehands and backhands keep my flexibility and range of motion in check. Even the ball toss is a challenge for me. The competition makes me fight hard and fear for my future forces me to always try harder. The social interaction keeps me smiling and engaged.

So, tennis buddies, you are so much more than “buddies”. You are my tennis therapists. You help me fight Parkinson’s every time we are on a court. There will come a time when my game declines and the threat of falls will require me to leave BETC. I want to play a lot of tennis before that happens.

Tennis helps keep my off-the-court life positive and strong. The harder you push me, the stronger I am. Bring it on!

I also want to thank the 25 or so BETC buddies who donated to Rotary back in 2017 to help me start Rock Steady Boxing for Parkinson’s. We now have 4 locations and over 80 Parkinson’s boxers.  BETC and tennis therapists, I thank you. My family thanks you.

But, just to be clear, tennis therapy is not covered under my insurance so don’t bother sending me a bill. See you on the courts.  Mike Sellars. 


Boxers with Parkinson's (c) 2019, 2020, 2021.  A Washington 501c3 Association and Research Project.