LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- It's the final press conference before his top student would take on and ultimately demolish Oscar De La Hoya.

Freddie Roach is on the dais at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas unable to control the tremors associated with his Parkinson's Disease. So I had to ask him after the press conference was over.

How in the world, I asked, are you able to get in the ring and train a fighter like Manny Pacquiao with your physical limitations? He didn't give me a direct answer right away. He gave me an anecdote.

I have a gym (Wild Card Boxing Club) in Los Angeles, he said and Muhammad Ali comes in to work out sometimes. And when he starts hitting the bag, his tremors go away.

The former Heavyweight champion of the world is the face of Parkinson's Disease globally. Closer to home, Brian Grant serves in that capacity. The former Blazer was diagnosed in 2008 and has been lending a hand, no matter how much they may tremble.

It's a great marriage and exercise for Parkinson's patients with an athlete who has Parkinson's, he said.

Exercise is the operative word. Six months ago, Grant launched his boot camps for Parkinson's patients, tailoring workouts to his and their physical needs and ability levels.

I couldn't just do the same workouts I was doing, like things to build the chest, things that close the body down, because Parkinson's does that on it's own.

So Grant did a little research and found Kimberly Berg, a veteran exercise physiologist who had experience working with Parkinson's.

When you wake up and you're stiff and you have Parkinson's and you know it's not going to go away, you are highly motivated to make changes.

Berg supervises roughly a dozen highly motivated individuals in this class. Some of whom find the exercise to be more effective than their medication.

It's a fact, Grant said, that people who work out and stay in shape do a lot better with this disease than those who don't.

And what about Roach's claim regarding Ali? Can those who exercise really experience dramatic changes in their symptoms?

It is legit, Grant said when I told him Freddie's story. But it all depends on what you're doing. If you're doing things that are challenging and tricking your brain to think, then your brain tends to shut it down.

Then came the physical proof.

See this? Grant asked while pointing to his hands, this tremor is going off the hook. But that's because I'm sitting down.

Roach was also sitting down at that press conference.

That's why Grant is standing up to Parkinson's and forming these boot camps. He wants others to experience the benefits of proper exercise. So they can all feel like they did before the disease decided to ravage their bodies.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://www.nwcn.com/story/news/2014/07/31/12955824/