We’re honored to have Todd Vogt, a world-class rowing champion, join the Reboundwear community. Todd began rowing competitively in college and continued to do so for 20 years. At the age of 44, he was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson's Disease. We know you’re going to get hooked on following him and supporting him on this incredible journey.
Hello! This is Todd Vogt from Portland, Oregon. I’ve been a competitive rower and rowing coach for over 30 years. In 2018, I started having a variety of physical problems and knew something was wrong. I was working tons of hours as the Head Coach of a local rowing club and I hoped I was just overworked and stressed out. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with Young-Onset Parkinson’s Disease three weeks before my 44th birthday.
I was understandably shocked and wondered what this meant for my future. How would this impact my relationship with my wife, Heather? How would this impact my career as a rowing coach? Would I still be able to row competitively?
I was in a bit of a funk for a few months and then decided to start rowing again. My initial idea was that I could possibly race as an adaptive athlete in some local races to stay fit and connected to the rowing community. The training was tough and frustrating at first. My fitness was not great, and I wasn’t moving and rowing as well as I used to.
Eventually, my fitness improved, and I reached out to USRowing, the governing body of rowing in the US, to inquire about possibly rowing on the US Paralympic National Rowing Team. It seemed like a long shot, but I figured I’d inquire anyways. Ultimately, I was invited to the camp that summer in Boston to select the Paralympic rowers that would represent the US at the upcoming World Championships in Austria. I earned a spot in the US Men’s PR3 pair-oared boat that would race at the 2019 World Rowing Championships in Linz, Austria (PR3 being my Paralympic rowing category). We finished 6th in the world and had a great trip overseas.
Since then, I was the alternate for the US Paralympic Rowing Team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and this past summer I represented the US in the PR3 mixed gender double scull event at the 2022 World Rowing Championships in Racice, Czech Republic, finishing in 5th place. I’m currently training nearly full-time with the goal to win a medal at the 2024 Paralympics in Paris, France.
This may sound like a relatively easy and smooth path, but it doesn’t feel that way daily. I generally row about 2 hours a day with additional weight training and cross-training several days a week. I’m usually wearing my Rebound Pique Polo shirt during these workouts, which is great for weight training.
Some days my body feels great and other days I have to fight against the tremors and dystonia (involuntary cramping) to get through my workouts. Medication helps but doesn’t take the symptoms entirely away. On the good days, training is fun and exciting. On the bad days, I just try to get through the workouts as best I can.
The important things I’ve learned through this process are that exercise helps alleviate my symptoms, to do what I can on the bad days, and try not to be too hard on myself on the bad days.
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