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Former Hilliard, Ohio State track star reunites with coach years after Parkinson’s diagnosis

After being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, Scott Rider says time is precious and that you should never let a second pass you by.

HILLIARD, Ohio — Time is measured by seconds. A second to give. A second to take. A second to reflect.

“Certain times you’re an elite athlete [and] certain times you’re a world-class athlete,” Scott Rider said. “And I was one second from being a world-class athlete.”

Rider, 62, might not have been considered a world-class athlete, but knowing his accolades you wouldn’t have known. 

At Hilliard High School in 1976, he won the state track meet as a sophomore. Then, he won it again as a senior and broke the meet record in the process.

Credit: Scott Rider
Scott Rider in high school

“I always felt like I could have been far better than I was,” Rider said.

At Ohio State, he was a three-time Big Ten champion and was named All-American twice. 

Credit: Scott Rider
Scott Rider running track when attending The Ohio State University

For a competitor like Rider, though, it’s the ones that got away and the one-second differences that he regrets.

Setbacks, though, can be the best teacher.

“I truly, truly believe that those things prepared me for what I call the battle of a lifetime,” he said.

Sixteen years ago, Rider was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. For him, it was one more thing to overcome, like losing the state championship his junior year in high school, or when his coach kicked him off the cross country team his senior year because he couldn’t attend two-a-day practices due to his summer job. 

It was a high school regret that always stuck with him.

Rider says after high school, he never saw his coach again. Before he knew it, 40 years went by. Then, two years ago out of the blue, a phone call.

“One day I got a phone call,” Rider said. “And, it’s this guy – he says, ‘Scott Rider?’ I said ‘Yes, sir’, and he said this is Coach Stinard.”

“Unbelievably how easy it was,” Stinard said. “[Rider was] just a gifted, gifted runner.”

Stinard, an athletic coach for the better part of 30 years, who kicked Rider off his cross country team and hadn’t talked to him for four decades, took a second to call.

Credit: Scott Rider
Coach Bruce Stinard

“And, he said I have Parkinson’s,” Rider said, recalling what Stinard told him on the phone. “And, immediately…immediately I felt a connection and anything that may or may not have happened in the past was gone.”

Stinard, now 74, was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease seven years ago. He had deep brain stimulus surgery a couple of years back to help limit his tremors.

At their old stomping ground, which is now a Hilliard middle school, was a reunion between coach and student-athlete while on the backstretch of life. Stinard and Rider walked and occasionally ran around the track, reminiscing of years past.

Time is, indeed, measured by seconds. Making it immeasurable to never let one pass you by.

“I would have never had the opportunity to resolve that had we not reconnected because of this crazy disease we both have called Parkinson’s,” Rider said.

RELATED: Ohio State track star living with Parkinson's spreading awareness about the disease

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