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article imageFreddie Roach hoping cure for Parkinson disease will come sooner

By Leo Reyes     Jun 7, 2016 in Sports
Seven-time BWAA 'Trainer of the Year' Freddie Roach is looking forward to the day when medical scientists will find a cure for thousands of people afflicted with Parkinson's disease, including himself.
Like legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, who died last Friday in Arizona after battling Parkinson's disease for over 30 years, Roach is also afflicted with the disease and similarly fighting his own battle outside the ring.
“Sometimes I would wonder, ‘why me’ or ‘why him?’” Roach told Ring TV.. “But once I get to work I’m fine because I have too many people depending on me and I think I’m very lucky to have the gym and to have boxing because that’s what keeps me sane. It’s a great loss to the world with Ali. He was a great fighter and great for the world of boxing. Hopefully they’re going to have a cure soon (for Parkinson’s), and hopefully they’ll be one before I get to his age.” Roach added.
Roach, a retired professional boxer who owns the famous Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, said owning the gym and keeping himself busy training future boxing champions like Ali, keeps his sanity in his continuing battle with the disease.
While there has been inconclusive findings that Parkinson's is caused by head punches that boxers absorbed during their active years in the sport, Roach also entertains the idea that his battle with the disease may not have been boxing-related, saying it could be genetic as his family had traces of the disease from way back.
“There isn’t a way as far as I know to know for sure, but they think mine probably came from boxing,” Roach said. “But it also could have been genetics,” he added.
Like Roach, Ali's doctor also believes that Ali's Parkinson's may have been caused by something else other than the head punches that he absorbed.
"Dr. Michael Okun, the chairman of the department of neurology at the University of Florida and medical director of the National Parkinson Foundation, said it is not simply a given that boxing caused Ali’s Parkinson’s," Yahoo Sports Kevin Iole writes.
Dr. Okun said 10 percent of Parkinson's disease is known to be genetic. Read more about Dr. Okun's view on Ali's disease in Kevin's article HERE.
Ali had survived Parkinson's for 32 years having been diagnosed with it in 1984 while Roach, who talked of his memorable meeting with Ali inside his Wild Card Gym some eight yeas ago, was 29 years old when he discovered that he had the disease. Roach is now 56 and has been battling Parkinson's for 27 years.
Roach said like Ali, he will fight to the end.
More about Parkinson's Disease, Freddie Roach, Muhammad ali, Boxing
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