Greg Busker carefully winds his cloth wraps around his knuckles, intricately winding them between his fingers and tightly up his wrists.

Many of his fellow boxers, he says, use the glove-like wraps that protect a boxer’s hands and wrists.

Busker says he learned to wrap his own hands and he likes the process.

Greg Busker seems to be a “one-step-at-a-time and appreciate the process” kind of person. Soft-spoken and deliberate moving, he gives no hint of the degenerative disease that has attacked his body.

Process complete, Busacker walks across the room towards his larget – a boxing/karate padded life-sized mannequin. Busacker measures the boxing dummy with a few slow jabs.

Greg Busacker fires a punch at the mannequin punching bag at the Southern Boone YMCA during a recent workout. Busacker is, a Parkinson’s patient, is a member of the Rock Steady Boxing program which has shown to slow the degenerative disease.

Pop. Pop. Pop.

It is not overly impressive, yet, you realize, Busacker is 75 and a victim of Parkinson’s Disease. Then, quickly, you realize that Busacker was merely warming up.

What were taps to the dummy’s head become harder and harder shots.


Busker has merely warmed up and while the photographer has all of the photos he needs, you can tell that Busacker is barely getting started. In fact, this 75-year old man is whaling away on a dummy with stiff jabs and combinations punches. He is moving his feet in a semi-circle while banging away, seemingly much more eager to get a good sweat going than talk to a reporter about his workouts.

You can only think to yourself: “This guy has Parkinsons?”


Disclosure: Parkinson’s Disease killed my father. Diagnosed in his early 70s, it explained why he, an accomplished cyclist and all-around athlete had several falls, gave up cycling in his late 60s and was in a wheel chair the last few years of his life. For me, it was awful to see such an active man reduced to barely being capable of feeding himself. For my dad, it was a frustrating torture. Since his death in 2012, I’ve always wondered when a cure or a method to slow the symptoms would be found.

A cure is not here yet, but a boxing workout program available through Mizzou Physical Therapy is slowing the symptoms.

~ Get the full feature in today’s Journal ~

By Bruce Wallace