Healthy Living

90-Year-Old Man with Parkinson's Remains Active By Playing Pickleball Everyday

90-Year-Old Man with Parkinson's Remains Active By Playing Pickleball Everyday

Photo: Pickleball Player Roy Gamble. Source: Local 8 Now.

Parkinson’s disease affects more than 10 million people in the world today, and most of them are over the age of 50. However, there are some who have this neurodegenerative even younger. As a gradual neurological disease, Parkinson's disease mainly affects the brain’s ability to control motor skills.

But, this did not stop 90-year-old Roy Gamble. Even when diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, Gamble still plays pickleball with everyone in their local community, even winning most of the time against both his friends and family.

Gamble was born in 1927 and was diagnosed with Parkinson's when he was in his late 70’s. Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder wherein the brain slowly deteriorates as time goes by. The disease mainly affects the brain's substantia nigra, which is located in the midbrain and primarily controls the production of dopamine. Because of dopamine's role in communication, the neurons in a Parkinson's patient body are not properly responding with each other.

Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. However, there are treatments being studied to help those afflicted with the ailment. As of now, there are currently three symptoms recognized by the National Health Service of the United Kingdom, which are:


Tremors that happen due to Parkinson's disease have a general distinct characteristic in patients. They usually last about 4-6 beats per second, in a back and forth movement. The area that is often affected first are the hands, but some also develop tremors in their feet and jaw. This is one of the first visible symptoms, and check-ups are strictly advised.

Slowness of movement:

This is also called bradykinesia. As defined, this is the slowing down of the body’s responses to the brain’s signal to move. This may be observed when there is a difficulty in doing everyday work, and a slower than normal pace. It can also be seen when walking, when patients are taking very small steps.

Muscle Stiffness

This comes with bradykinesia, and it is the stiffness and tension felt in the muscles. This symptom leaves the person with a constant pain or sensation because of the stiffness in their muscle. This can be easily be observed when trying to move a patient’s arm. Patients would typically produce a short jerky motion, which is called “cogwheel rigidity”.

Another major symptom, which is considered by the National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke, is Postural Instability. This means that the person with Parkinson's disease has a problem with their balance, causing them to easily fall. 

According to Gamble, with Parkinson's disease, "There’s always fatigue. It robs you of half your strength, dexterity in your hands; you can't do anything anymore.” When he was first diagnosed, he and his wife, Mary, sai that they knew little about the disease before Roy was diagnosed. He and His wife, Mary said they knew little about the disease before Roy had it. However, they researched all that they can and listened to any advice that his doctor had, which is why Gamble still looks for ways to remain active despite his condition. 

While there are more symptoms o the disease, some do not present themselves until the disease reaches its more advanced stages.