WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - Tennis players throughout the District, Maryland, and Virginia area are coming together to help beloved local coach Steve Parker, who suffered a massive stroke early last month.
“Anybody who’s played a sport has a great coach in their lives. Somewhere along the line they’ve come across somebody who’s calling it was to be a coach, and that’s Steve Parker,” said Gary Kessler, who has taken lessons from Parker at Bethesda Sport & Health and also organized a GoFundMe page on the coach’s behalf.
Doctors initially determined that Parker lost the use of his right side and his ability to speak, according to the page, which also said that the degree to which Parker is cognitively impaired was unknown.
"Unfortunately, there are no set timelines for recovery, and Steve faces the very real possibility that he will never regain the full use of his body,” Kessler wrote. It’s a big part of why community members have come together to raise more than $75,000 so far, with a goal of $150,000 to help Parker with medical bills, rehab, living expenses, and more.
Friends believe the coronavirus pandemic may have played a role in Parker’s current condition too. Reason being, Parker lives alone and likely suffered for some amount of time – possibly days – before family members found him and got Parker help.
“He’s a workhorse,” Kessler said Tuesday. “He teaches seven days a week and had it been normal times, he would’ve been out on the court. The guy starts at 6, 7 a.m. teaching. When he missed a couple of lessons the next day, a red flag would’ve gone up.”