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What could Bernie Kosar's Parkinson's diagnosis mean?

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Posted at 7:37 AM, Jul 10, 2024

BEACHWOOD, Ohio — Just past the shadows of Cleveland Browns Stadium, Beachwood's InMotion offers a sense of community for people living with Parkinson's disease.

"There's a misconception about Parkinson's out there," said Cathe Schwartz, CEO of InMotion. "I think Parkinson's still has a stigma."

But Schwartz said the reality is people can live productive, positive lives with the nervous system disease.

"It's not a death sentence," said Schwartz, who said a number of the center's clients have lived with the disease for decades.

On Tuesday, former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar said earlier this year he was diagnosed with Parkinson's.

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The disease can cause things like tremors, rigid muscles and changes in speech.

But Schwartz said there's no way to know what kind of symptoms Kosar, who's 60 years old, may experience.

"We have a saying around here, that if you've met one person with Parkinson's, you've met one person with Parkinson's because it can really manifest itself differently in everyone," said Schwartz.

She said regular exercise can be key to slowing those symptoms.

The news that Kosar is in the early stages of the disease could open up more options for treatment, said Schwartz.

"Throughout his career, he's been a really positive, proactive person and I would hope he takes that same kind of approach to living with Parkinson's," she said.

While there's no cure for Parkinson's yet, Schwartz said Northeast Ohio's hospitals and universities make Cleveland a good place to be for research and treatment of the disease.

She's optimistic Kosar will remain active in the community, believing he'll fight his recent diagnosis with the same heart he showed on the gridiron.

"You have been a leaders and an athlete and a force to be reckoned with for 30 years, 40 years i guess," said Schwartz. "Don't let Parkinson's take that away from you."