Kirk Gibson Challenges Parkinson’s

It’s just not in my DNA to give in. ~~Kirk Gibson

Since it is World Series week, I can’t pass up the chance to write about one of my great loves—baseball.  However, I am not writing about this year’s contenders, Los Angeles Dodgers or Boston Red Sox. But in a roundabout way, this relates to the Dodgers.

Rewind to 1988

Kirk Gibson of the LA Dodgers made World Series history in Game 1. He pinch hit in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. On a 3-2 count, he hit a home run off Dennis Eckersley and limped around the bases. This fierce contender, world class athlete, manager, and sports announcer had his world changed to a new normal in 2015 when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He was recently interviewed on August 23 by Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News.

Highlights of Recent Video Interview

Kirk Gibson takes Parkinson’s personally as a challenge. His perspective is a new left-hander has just entered the game. It is not in his DNA to give in.

He is living a new normal. He believes he can still live a good life. He has to learn what he can and can’t do and find ways to adapt to what he really wants to continue.

He exercises and had to learn to make large movements through the Big and Loud program. He also has to practice speaking exercises to keep his voice from being too soft.

He challenges himself to be upbeat as well as others to be the same. If he sees someone struggling in an airport, he strikes up a conversation.

Like many people with Parkinson’s, his diagnosis came on slowly. In 2008, he noticed his left hand clutched up when he shaved. In 2015, he had anxiety during a broadcast and had to leave abruptly. A few days later he was diagnosed with PD. He is grateful to be back in the Detroit as a broadcaster and wants to contribute for as long as he can.

Kirk Gibson Foundation & Videos

He has a foundation through which he hopes to motivate people to continue enjoying their life.

You can listen to the 7+ minute Wojnowski interview and read an excellent newspaper account  or watch the historic home run.

Giving PD Our Best Shot

I wish Kirk Gibson the best as he goes to bat 24/7 with PD. I also wish the Dodgers and Red Sox a great series. I am not rooting for one or the other. I am just a lover of the game who also happens to have Parkinson’s. I never could hit a baseball like my father was noted for, but I’m in this PD game with determination to occasionally knock one of the symptoms out of the park! Furthermore, if I have to, I will limp, hobble, and struggle to get to home plate just like Kirk Gibson did!



Photo Credit: Los Angeles Times



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    • Denise on October 25, 2018 at 9:20 pm
    • Reply

    Thanks for this. My husband a baseball coach for 40 years plus will not give in. Not give up and use his principles that he has used on the field for so very long. Today we continue to pray for a cure. Thanks for the article. You just encouraged me as his wife and caregiver. We will fight till we can’t fight no more! 💪🏼💪🏼⚾️⚾️💚

    1. Hi Denise, Thank you for sharing your story. It brought tears to my eyes (in a good way!) Both of you are playing relentless roles. Your husband’s philosophy is supporting him now, much like it supported all those he was blessed to influence in the past. He is also blessed to have you by his side. I am so glad we met here. Please keep in touch and let me know how the two of you are doing. You are in my prayers.

    • Karen Bryson on October 26, 2018 at 12:00 am
    • Reply

    Parkinson’s puts us all on the same playing field despite our abilities. Best wishes to Kirk and his family as he continues to fight his personal battle.
    Thanks again Linda for another inspiring article!

    1. Hi Karen, Indeed it does and that field of one million+ people with Parkinson’s in U.S. is staggering. I appreciate your kind comments, and I know Kirk and his family will as well.

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