We here at BUSC are proud of the activities and groups that we put on for our community.
That’s because we know of the positive effect that we have on the people who take part and their lives.
Doug has been part of the walking football group for a year and a half now.
Having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, Doug initially found it difficult to cope with the disease impeding his life, until he was informed of the walking football sessions by his wife and daughter who undertook our Pilates class at the club.
“The two of them just looked out the window and thought to themselves “Well, dad could do that” and lucky enough, it’s been a godsend. And it’s helped me in every way especially with my Parkinson’s because I have so much passion for football.”
“I’ve always believed in positive mental attitudes throughout my life.”
Even at 76, Doug is still very much passionate about life and feels the walking football has helped improve the condition that he lives with, and his positivity always shines through.
“If you have a negative attitude, you won’t get anywhere. The last year and a half have helped me immensely. It would help so many other people to accept that they have an illness but that you still have a life.
“This is your life and you have only one life, so get out there and live it.”
For Doug who had been involved with football both professionally and personally, the football has acted as a coping mechanism for his condition.
“You need something to focus on or concentrate upon. If I have a good game, I’ll feel good about myself, if I have a bad game then I’ll be depressed about it all week! But it gives you something to look forward to all week.”
A symptom of Parkinson’s is that the brain is relieved of dopamine which is the reward chemical in your brain, but Doug feels that the walking football has helped him cope with that aspect of his condition and is more than happy to spread the praise about.
“If I get told I’ve made a great pass, or that was a great ball, then I start to feel good about myself knowing I’ve done well.”
Off the pitch has been important to Doug as well, as meeting new people and getting involved in other group activities means he has made new friends which he wasn’t expecting.
“I’ve met some of the nicest people in my life, and three of them I would count as my best friends which you don’t expect at this stage of your life. Danny, Archie and Ian are three great guys.
“One of the people I respect the most is George who comes every week and whose wife has dementia, and he comes just to get a break and get away from it for a bit. You don’t have to be Denis Law or George Best to play!
The walking football has improved Doug’s health so much to the point that his doctors have been impressed with how rapidly his condition has improved. On his last visit to his doctor, Doug was told that he didn’t need to be seen for another nine months because he was in such good shape.
As a result, Doug has a simple message for anyone thinking about taking part in the walking football.
“Hurry up and join. It’s the best thing I ever did.
“It is such a benefit to everyone no matter what level you are or what standards you have. Look good and feel good. That’s what I want to achieve.”
“My life’s just begun, it’s made me want to live.”