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Keep moving in the face of Parkinson’s disease

Just try to keep Scott Rider from his mission. The 56-year-old has Parkinson’s disease but he will tell you the disease does not have him.

Just try to keep Scott Rider from his mission. The 56-year-old has Parkinson’s disease but he will tell you the disease does not have him.

“I’m not going to let it rule my life,” he said. “I’m going to try to rule it.”

Rider was diagnosed nearly 10 years ago but says he knew something was wrong even earlier when he felt himself slowing down during a family vacation.

“My daughter, who was three at the time, kept telling me how slowly I was moving,” he said.

Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. The disease develops gradually.

National Parkinson Foundation Ohio - Moving Day Columbus

Many people know it for starting with a barely noticeable tremor.

Dr. Andrea Malone, a neurologist at OhioHealth says she and her team take note of not only a tremor, but also slowness and stiffness.

“When we give someone the diagnosis, I like to tell them there’s a lot of hope,” she said. “There’s a lot of things we didn’t know about the disease 50 years ago as neurologists. There’s medications, to exercise, to physical therapy to occupational therapy to other treatments.”

Risk factors include age—typically patients are between the ages of 40-and 70 years old—genetics and environment.

The irony of having a disease that affects movement is not lost on Rider. He’s a lifelong runner with awards and records still on the books.

Rider says that training is helping him live with Parkinson’s.

“To perform at a high level at any sport you have to have a lot of drive so I’ve tried to treat Parkinson’s the same way,” he said.

Rider was a 1982 NCAA Track and Field All-American in the 800 Meter, participated in the 1984 Olympic trials in Los Angeles and remains the record holder in the men's outdoor 800 meter at The Ohio State University.

"It's humbling to know my name's on the same board with Jesse Owens and Butch Reynolds and great people like that,” he said. “Running formed my life had I not had running I wouldn't be the person I am today. “

Scott keeps a blog about his journey with Parkinson’s.