Former Australian captain Allan Border opens up on battle with Parkinson’s disease


Australian cricket great Allan Border has opened up on his devastating battle with Parkinson’s disease, and admits he is fearful of the “slow decline process”.

The 68-year-old also shared details of the first time a doctor told him he had it … and said one image immediately hit him.

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“I didn’t know much about Parkinson’s,’’ Border said on Fox Sports.

“The first thing that came to my mind at the time was Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic Cauldron, so I just thought, oh my god.”

Border was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2016.

Border was a tough and uncompromising captain of Australia. Credit: Getty Images

“And as soon as I walked in the door he (the doctor) just said, look Allan I can just tell you have Parkinson’s disease I am sorry to tell you,” he said.

“Just like that, you could have knocked me over with a feather, basically. I knew something wasn’t quite right, but I didn’t think it was that bad.

“It was just a strange feeling and a strange trip home. My better half Jane was with me and we just thought, bloody hell what does this actually mean?”

Since then Border has kept his health battle relatively private but spoke about it publicly last year.

Back then he said he would be lucky to live until he was 80.

“No way am I going to get another 100, that’s for sure. I’ll just slip slowly into the west,” he said.

But Border — who was famous for his tough and uncompromising ways when he was captain of Australia — is still stoic.

“It is a neurological disorder where the brain stops developing a thing called dopamine, which affects muscles and your nervous system,” he said.

Border, with Dean Jones to his left, led Australia to the 1987 World Cup title. Credit: Getty Images/Getty Images

“That’s why you get the shakes and things like that. That is the basic thing that happens with Parkinson’s that the body stops producing the dopamine and everyone needs it.

“I don’t get enough, so you take supplements to keep yourself on the straight and narrow.”

Border said he could still play golf and still went on walks.

“I’m not running any marathons anymore, but apart from that things are pretty good,” he said.

“I’m not so much scared, but I am worried, yeah, about that slow decline process.

“I am worried about that and I have sort of taken the route that the less I know the better, where as Jane my wife has gone the other way and she knows everything.

“I do get lectured quite often about, you haven’t been for a walk for a couple of days or what are you doing drinking all those beers? And all the stuff I shouldn’t be doing.

“But I am being kept on the straight and narrow by Jane and a good medical team.”

Border debuted for Australia in 1978, and racked up 27 hundreds and 63 half-centuries in the Baggy Green.

He reluctantly took over from Kim Hughes as Test captain in the summer of 1984-85 and is credited for reviving Australia’s fortunes during one of the country’s leanest periods in the sport’s history.

He skippered Australia to an improbable 1987 World Cup one-day title triumph in India and Pakistan before leading Australia – famously as ‘Captain Grumpy’ – to an even more unlikely Ashes series win in England two years later.

The national sporting treasure retired after a 16-year, 156-Test career in 1994, with a phenomenal 50.56 batting average before serving as a respected long-term national selector.

– With Digital Staff

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