Boxing is known to be the ultimate full-boy workout; requiring not only physical strength, but mental tenacity and a fair amount of coordination and agility. The benefits of boxing workouts range from improved balance, to increased endurance and better core strength. But for 29-year-old Bradley Murray, the paybacks have been even more significant.
About two months ago, Bradley was introduced to Rock Steady Boxing by Amy Groves, Administrative Assistant at Change. Amy’s uncle, Larry Zarzecki, is the founder and CEO of Movement Disorder Education and Exercise, Inc. (MDEE), an organization dedicated to helping the people of Westminster and Baltimore learn to manage and live with movement disorders. One of the programs offered by MDEE is Rock Steady Boxing, an exercise class focused on boxing and its ability to reduce stiffness, improve mobility, and make a positive impact on participants’ quality of life.
From knowing Bradley and seeing him every day at Change, Amy said she had a feeling Rock Steady Boxing would be a good fit—and she was right!
Bradley said he has had an interest in boxing since he was 12-years-old, but thought it was too late start since many people begin boxing at an early age. “I gave that dream up and got into skateboarding instead,” Bradley explains. Now, 17 years later, Bradley is enjoying boxing and working towards his goal. Not only has Bradley made great strides in terms of the skills necessary for boxing, but has seen many improvements that have impacted his day-to-day life in a positive way.
Due to a car accident that lead to a traumatic brain injury (TBI), Bradley faced a multitude of physical challenges that required him to adapt and adjust. Since his accident, Bradley has had limited range-of-motion in his right arm. Recently, though, Bradley has seen major improvements. “My right arm can move farther up and farther back,” Bradley says, as he demonstrates how he can now raise his arm above his head. To communicate, Bradley uses his left hand to do sign language, but since he has begun boxing, he has been able to use his right hand to do some signs as well.
Bradley says that boxing makes him feel strong. “It also helps me be more active. I’m not stuck in a building,” he explains. Working out at Rock Steady Boxing has also given Bradley an opportunity to meet and bond with new people. Brandon, one of the coaches at Rock Steady, has a TBI from an accident that is not much different from Bradley’s. Upon realizing they had this in common, Brandon and Bradley spent time talking about life and shared struggles, and (literally) comparing scars. “I like the people at Rock Steady. They’re all nice to me,” Bradley added.
With trying something new comes challenges, and Tyler Baggot, Bradley’s Direct Support Professional, has been instrumental in providing Bradley with support while acting as a friend and workout partner. Tyler said he helps Bradley with things like getting his gloves on, standing up to hit the speed bag, relaying information to Bradley from the coaches, and pushing him to keep going. “When we’re not boxing, I’m trying to get Bradley to do more right arm activities and right arm stretches,” Tyler says.
When asked what his favorite thing is about boxing with Bradley, Tyler replied, “He likes doing it. That’s the biggest thing. He likes being there, and I want to help him do things that he enjoys doing.”
With Tyler, Brandon, Amy, Larry, and the entire team at Rock Steady behind him, Bradley’s passion for boxing has gone from just a daydream to an unstoppable pursuit.