We are PingPongParkinson®, a 501 c3 non-profit organization located at the Westchester Table Tennis Center, 175 Tompkins Avenue, Pleasantville, New York (approximately 35 miles north of New York City). We were established officially on the first of March 2017 with the goal of halting the progression of Parkinson’s Disease by utilizing ping pong as a form of physical therapy. Our model is based on the concept of neuroplasticity – the brain’s capacity to make new neurons and connections through challenging physical exercise. Although medication remains the focus in the treatment for Parkinson’s, there is compelling evidence for the need for a regular exercise program in managing this disease.
The original idea behind this commitment to help Parkinson patients (“Pongers”) attain an improved quality of life through exercise was inspired by Nenad Bach, a Croatian-American musician and rock star. Nenad had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and noticed that his motor symptoms and mood were improved by playing ping pong. This non-pharmacological approach to his treatment was encouraged by his neurologists who confirmed his improved status. Nenad subsequently recruited several volunteers from the club, including Will Shortz, the crossword editor of the New York Times and the owner of the Westchester Table Tennis Center, Dr. Art Dubow, who together with Nenad created the PPP program; plus Irene Silbert, a PR professional – all working together to establish the PPP group.