John Senden suffers from Parkinson's disease



by ANDREA GUSSONI

John Senden suffers from Parkinson's disease
© Getty Images Sport - Mike Mulholland / Stringer

Double winner on the PGA Tour, Australian John Senden, 52, revealed on the sidelines of the Australian PGA Championship last week in Brisbane that he was suffering from Parkinson's disease. He is at the start this Thursday in Sydney for the ISPS Handa Australian Open.

John Senden, Parkinson

Present last week in Brisbane for the opening of the 2023-24 DP World Tour season, John Senden admitted to suffering from Parkinson's disease. The 52-year-old Australian golfer revealed this to ABC Sport a few minutes after missing the cut at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship won by Min Woo Lee.

“I have to stay in shape as long as possible because Parkinson's disease tends to lock you little by little into a sort of depression,” he emphasized. So I have to keep playing. For the moment this does not interfere too much with my physical strength even if I feel some tingling in my right arm.

» “The adrenaline of a big tournament, the apprehension of a difficult shot can give me tremors,” adds the two-time winner on the PGA Tour in 2006 and 2014. “And I have difficulty controlling all that.

To compensate, I have to stretch longer to alleviate the pain. But I am still able to play and enjoy my life as a professional golfer. » The proof is that he is in the field at the ISPS Handa Australian Open this week in Sydney.

A tournament that is close to his heart since he won it in 2006. The typical motor symptoms of the condition are the result of the death of cells that synthesize and release dopamine. These cells are found in the substantia nigra, a region of the midbrain.

The cause leading to their death is unknown. At the onset of the disease the most evident symptoms are related to movement, and include tremors at rest, rigidity, slowness of movement (bradykinesia) and instability of balance.

In order for the diagnosis of Parkinson's to be assumed, at least three of these 'cardinal' symptoms must be present; tremor is in fact not present in all patients. Furthermore, the symptoms present asymmetrically (one side of the body is more affected than the other).

At the onset of the disease, symptoms are often not recognized immediately because they manifest themselves in a subtle and inconsistent way and the progression of the disease is typically slow. Parkinson's disease is more common in older adults; most cases occur after the age of 50, but statistics show that the number of cases is increasing and that the age is decreasing.

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