Game on: your invite to Parkinson’s football ‘World Cup’
Health & Fitness
Author: Geoffrey ChangPublished: 16 June 2016
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The European Championships and Copa America may have kicked off around the world, but there’s another football tournament for the Parkinson’s community to get excited about
The annual international football tournament for players with Parkinson’s named after the Arsenal and Liverpool legend Ray Kennedy – who retired from football in 1984 aged 32 due to Parkinson’s – will take place on 27 August 2016 in Copenhagen, Denmark, and registration is now open.
Organised by the Parkinson Association Denmark (Parkinsonforeningen), the 7-a-side tournament will welcome teams from Denmark, Norway and Sweden. But they want you to take part and represent your country.
Lizzie Graham, executive director of the European Parkinson’s Disease Association, said: “I remember Ray Kennedy very well – in the 90s I worked with him very closely. It’s so lovely that he is being remembered as the excellent footballer he was and the courageous man he is.”
The idea for a Parkinson’s ‘world cup’ came from physiotherapist Finn Egeberg Nielsen, who realised from his work with Parkinson’s patients that the movements required in football were very similar to the ones he asked his patients to perform.
In addition to raising awareness of the benefits of physical activity, the Ray Kennedy Cup creates a sociable, fun environment for people with Parkinson’s to interact with one another.
Heino Jespersen, member of the board of the Danish Parkinson’s Association, said: “I’m sure that football and exercise can alleviate the burden of the disease. This tournament shows that a Parkinson’s diagnosis is not the end of that physical activity, it is not the end of life.”
About Ray Kennedy
Raymond Kennedy (born 28 July 1951) is a former English footballer, who played for Arsenal and Liverpool in the 1970’s. On 3rd May 1971 Ray won The League with Arsenal, who became Champions for the first time since 1952-53. A few days later the team also won the FA Cup. Ray was top scorer in 1971-72 and again in 1973-74, and moved to Liverpool in 1974. He also played 17 games for England. He retired in 1984 at the age of 32 due to Parkinson’s disease.
For more info on how to sign up visit the Ray Kennedy Cup website