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Ping pong power: Organization uses ping pong to help people with mobility, cognitive impairments

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Posted at 9:00 PM, Jul 16, 2023

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — At Table Tennis Connections in Northern Colorado, the mission is to create an environment where everybody can connect around a blue table.

“We’re just trying to create a community that sees people with different mental and physical capabilities, just being together around these blue tables. These ping pong tables,” said Antonio Barbera, founder and CEO of Table Tennis Connections.

Antonio was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2017 and returned to playing table tennis to help his mobility. He decided to raise awareness to help others like him.

“Our goal is to improve the life of people with these conditions,” said Barbera. “Not only improving their motor symptoms but also the entire quality of life.”

Every Tuesday and Thursday, the organization offers its NeuroPong program. It is a program tailored to people with neurodegenerative conditions, such as MS or Parkinson’s.

“We created a small community in which we really encourage each other,” said Barbera. “We use ping pong, we use the technique to work with our brain to challenge our brain.”

Lynne McCoy volunteers her time for the program every Tuesday and Thursday.

“When I first stopped by I thought, ‘Oh I’ll just do this once a week.’ It was a Tuesday when I first stopped by and I showed up on Thursday of that same week,” said McCoy. “I just started coming twice a week. I just wanted to be involved with this as much as I could.”

Lynne helps pick up loose ping pong balls, not even letting a broken foot keep her down.

Ping pong power: Organization uses ping pong to help people with mobility, cognitive impairments

“I wanted to come back as soon as I could. I missed a few weeks, but here I am and I’m having a blast,” said McCoy.

The NeuroPong program is something Lynne says she will always stay dedicated to.

“I’m sure a lot of these people heard from their doctors that they need to get some exercise. A lot of people would cringe when they hear that,” said McCoy. “But what a positive atmosphere. This is so much fun. I mean, how can you not want to come to this?”

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