I may only have four or five years left at a high level

President of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Poul-Erik Høyer has revealed that he has been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for the last five years. Through an interview with tv2.dk, he said only his near and dears ones were privy to this secret. He also revealed that his father had the same disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects the brain and gradually limits the motor functions of the body. Symptoms include tremors, muscle stiffness, balance problems and limb rigidity. Though the disease develops slowly over time it cannot be cured. It can be treated with medications.

Høyer said he first noticed the limitation in his motor functions in a strange way. He said, “Every time I wanted to press the power switch, I had to press it again and again. I wanted to know what was happening and why I couldn’t control my motor functions.”

Høyer said his father who passed away in 2008 also suffered from the same condition which made him rethink his future. He said, “That’s not something you want to hear, and I started thinking about what would happen to me for the rest of my life. At first, it was difficult to process and especially to admit that I am sick right now.”

Høyer, who had lived in Singapore for several years, has returned to Denmark to be closer with his two sons and spend time with his girlfriend. According to Kristian Winge, a neurology specialist, the best thing a patient can do is to stay physically active and stimulate the brain with fun and challenging activities.

Even with his current condition, Høyer said he wanted to dedicate himself to badminton. He said he hoped to be allowed to continue serving as the President of the BWF. He said, “I would have great respect if they don’t want it, but if they want to keep me, then I will give my blood, sweat and tears. Because I may only have four or five years left at a high level.”