Athlete-turned-neurologist Roger Bannister has Parkinson’s
Bannister has revealed he is suffering from Parkinson's disease but has reflected on his astounding achievement 60 years ago and compared it to his 1954 Commonwealth Games success
Sir Roger Bannister has revealed that he is suffering from Parkinson’s disease. The athletics record-breaker was diagnosed with the neurological disorder three years ago, he said, and he now has trouble walking.
He added that, as a former neurologist, he considered the fact that he had contracted the disease “a gentle irony”. The news comes just days before the 60th anniversary of his historic sub-four-minute-mile run.
Sir Roger, 85, told BBC Radio Oxford that while the condition caused him “difficulties”, he had tried not to allow it to interfere with his activities.
“Life has its physical challenges,” he said. “I’ve not been free of other illness. I take every day as it comes and the pleasure that I see is much of it directed towards what my grandchildren are achieving. [But] intellectually I think and believe and hope that I am not [degenerating].”
Sir Roger astonished the world and made sporting history when he became the first man to run a mile in under four minutes at Oxford’s Iffley Road track on 6 May 1954.
He achieved success as an athlete while still a student at medical school in Oxford, and went on to become a leading neurologist, as well as writing academic papers on the physiology of exercise.
Parkinson’s affects around one in 500 people and there are estimated to be nearly 130,000 in the UK with the condition, including comedian Billy Connelly. Former boxing champion Muhammad Ali is a sufferer, as is Grammy award winner Linda Ronstadt.
The disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in one part of the brain and results in a loss of control over muscle movement. People living with Parkinson’s experience involuntary shaking and stiffness that makes day-to-day activities difficult. It can be treated with drugs but there is no known cure, and it is progressive.
“I have seen, and looked after, patients with so many neurological and other disorders that I am not surprised I have acquired an illness,” Sir Roger said. “It’s in the nature of things, there’s a gentle irony to it. I don’t intend to let it interfere – as much as I can.
“I am aware of all the research that’s been done,” he added. “I think it will take some time before there is a breakthrough, but the management and drug treatments are improving all the time.
Latest in Sport
Liverpool transfer news: Reds buoyed after Marco Reus rejects new Borussia Dortmund contract offer - reports
Arsenal agree new deal with BT Sport - which coincides nicely with advert showing FA Cup win over Liverpool
Liverpool transfer news: Divock Origi joins before World Cup star is immediately loaned back to Lille
Scottie dogs in Commonwealth Games opening ceremony 'disrespectful to Muslims', say Malaysian politicians
Liverpool transfer news: Daniel Agger closing in on Barcelona move as Xavi plans to stay
- 1 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 2 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 3 'Women should not laugh in public,' says Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister in morality speech
- 5 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star dies at age 45 after suffering from cancer
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Ecommerce/Retail/E...
Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...
£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...