Cerebral palsy is a disease that can be debilitating both physically and mentally for an individual. Doctors and researchers alike are constantly searching for new kinds of therapies for people afflicted with such a condition. Martial arts like karate have been included in physical therapy regiments used to help people with cerebral palsy as far back as 2001, according to USA Today.
“Martial arts are the total opposite of cerebral palsy,” said pediatric neurologist Dr. Janice Brunstrom in an interview with USA Today. “It’s all about control of movement and control of power.”
Besides karate, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is another martial art that can serve as a therapeutic activity for people with cerebral palsy. Ian Matuszak, a 20-year-old from Westbury, New York, has cerebral palsy, but uses his training in this martial art to help preserve an optimistic outlook on life.
In fact, he was recently awarded his blue belt in the sport in a ceremony that included more than 200 members of his local BJJ community and even a few martial arts celebrities, according to WNYW News of New York, a local Fox affiliate. The public event doubly served as a fundraiser to help Matuszak’s family pay for his expensive medical bills.