Living Well With Parkinson’s: A Conversation with Brian Grant and Davis Phinney

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Brian Grant had a long and successful 12-year career in basketball. In 2008, at age 36, Brian was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Davis Phinney was an Olympic Bronze medalist and Tour de France stage winner who claimed the most victories of any cyclist in American history. In 2000, at age 40, Davis was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Since being diagnosed, both athletes have made it their mission to do all they can to thrive with Parkinson’s and inspire others to do the same.

In this episode

In this genuine, inspiring, and relatable conversation, Brian and Davis talk about their experiences as athletes receiving a Parkinson’s diagnosis, their difficulties in accepting the physical and mental challenges that have occurred with the progression of their Parkinson’s, and how and why they are passionate about living well with Parkinson’s each and every day.

To download the transcript, click here.
Note: This isn’t a perfect transcript, but it’s close.

takeaways from brian and davis

Living well with Parkinson’s means choosing to control what you can and letting go of what you can’t.

“I still ebb and flow with acceptance, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t focus on living well and doing my best, making my best effort to enjoy my life.”
-Davis Phinney

Depression is a common non-motor symptom of Parkinson’s due to physiological changes in your brain. Brian says he spent six months trying to convince himself that he didn’t have depression.

“I thought that depression was for weak-minded individuals, but I was so wrong. I was so wrong.”
-Brian Grant

Consistent exercise has been shown to be one of the best things you can do to live well with and possible slow the progression of Parkinson’s. But exercising consistently is hard, especially if you haven’t exercised a day in your life. The best advice we’ve heard consistently from people with Parkinson’s and professionals is that the key to moving your body consistently is finding an activity (or five!) that bring you joy.

“When I quit moving, it was like planting a garden. All these new weeds just starting sprouting up. And once I got back into a rhythm and started moving, it didn’t take [all my symptoms] away, but I felt much better and could deal with those things.”
-Brian Grant

Additional resources

The Brian Grant Foundation

Grit: A Conversation with Angela Duckworth on being “gritty” and achieving your goals

PD Avengers

Depression, Anxiety, and Apathy in Parkinson’s

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*The Third Season of the Parkinson’s Podcast is made possible through generous support in honor of Dr. Margaret Hilgartner.

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