Help Coach Steve Parker Get Back in the Game

On March 30, our friend Steve Parker played tennis with his brother Collin.  It was a day much like any other for Steve at a time when the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic had made so many things far from normal.  After saying goodbye to Steve, Collin would not speak to him for another seven days.  In fact, no one would see or speak with Steve between March 30 and April 6. 
Steve returned home after hitting with Collin, and then, things took a terrible turn.  Steve was in his apartment, where he lives alone, when he suffered a massive middle cerebral artery (MCA) stroke. No one knows when the stroke occurred, but his phone indicates that Steve failed to respond to calls and texts between April 1 and April 6.  Growing concerned that Steve had not responded to them in several days, Collin and his brother David went to Steve’s apartment.  There, they found him collapsed, disoriented, and confused.  Steve was rushed by ambulance to the hospital.
Many of you know Steve through tennis.  He has touched the lives of innumerable people who have attended his clinics, taken lessons, or watched him teach their children.  Steve has been a USPTA pro for 34 years and has been a fixture in the greater Washington, D.C. tennis community for decades.  Steve is a teacher, coach, and mentor to tennis players of every age and skill level, and he is a friend to all.
To spend an hour on the tennis court with Steve is to know him a lifetime.  Students come to Steve to learn a game, and they leave with a lifelong friend.  No matter if you are Steve’s first lesson of the day or his last after many hours on the court, Steve meets you with a big smile and genuine interest in you and your family.  Anyone who has played on a court anywhere close to Steve has heard his billowing laugh.  It is as infectious as it is genuine.
Steve enjoys the game of tennis, but his real love is teaching, especially children.  Countless players owe their college and high school tennis careers to Steve and even more look back fondly to spending hours learning from him.  Ask any of them, and they will say that they are proud to be members of Team Parker.
A stroke causes a sudden interruption of blood flow to the brain.  In an MCA stroke, blood flow supplied by the middle cerebral artery, the largest artery in the brain, is cutoff (an infarction) by an ischemia (a blockage, clot, or constriction).  As with any stroke, rapid diagnosis and treatment are essential to limiting damage.  While no one knows exactly how long Steve waited to be found, it is clear that he was alone and suffering for several days as he lost valuable time for treatment.
Most weeks, Steve teaches tennis seven days per week.  The courts at which he teaches were closed to comply with coranavirus distancing measures.  Had Steve been teaching on his normal schedule, he very likely would have been found much earlier.
Doctors initially determined that Steve had lost the use of his right side and his ability to speak.  The degree to which he was cognitively impaired was unknown.  After being treated for seven days in the hospital, Steve was transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation center where he remains today.  Coranavirus precautions have made it impossible for Steve to have any visitors in either facility.
All of Steve’s students know he will work tirelessly to rehabilitate.  He will push himself the way he has inspired so many of his students to work and grow.  While Steve is beginning to try to vocalize and can take a few steps with the assistance of his therapist and a wide base quad cane, he has a long journey ahead of him.  Unfortunately, there are no set timelines for recovery, and Steve faces the very real possibility that he will never regain full use of his body.  Steve’s immediate goals focus on regaining some of his ability to communicate and use his right arm and leg.  Success will be measured by the degree to which Steve will be able to function independently. 
At this point, it is hard to envision Steve returning to the tennis court, the place where he has earned his living for over 30 years.  Coaches and instructors like Steve do not choose their profession for the money.  It is a calling.  It is also a profession that only pays when you work.

Our campaign goal is $150,000.  This will be used to assist Steve with the following expenses:
·      Medical and hospital bills
·      Rehabilitation bills
·      Durable medical equipment and ambulatory devices
·      Continued physical, occupational, and speech therapy
·      Home health assistance
·      Living expenses
Thank you for reading Steve’s story.  In these days of the Coronavirus pandemic, we are witnessing suffering of every type, and many people are in need.  If you know Steve, please consider his selfless nature and the countless hours he has devoted to people like you and the many children who fondly call him Coach Steve.  If you do not, please consider helping a truly generous person who now must rely on others’ generosity. 
We appreciate any help, no matter how large or small.  Please help us get the word out by sharing our campaign on social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) and with your friends.  We will update this page on Steve’s progress and the use of funds. If you have any questions, please contact [email redacted].
#HelpCoachSteve #CoachSteve #JoinTeamParker

Frequently Asked Questions
1.   Who are you and why are you starting the Help Get Coach Steve Parker Back in the Game Campaign?

The Help Get Coach Steve Parker Back in the Game campaign was established by Gary Kessler and Collin Parker.  Gary and his daughter are among Steve’s many students.  Like so many of his students, they greatly value Steve’s teaching and friendship and are proud members of Team Parker.  Collin Parker is Steve’s younger brother.  Gary and Collin established this campaign to assist Steve with the expenses associated with his treatment and rehabilitation as well as his lost income. 
2.   Who will administer the funds raised by the campaign?

Steve’s brother Collin Parker will hold and administer all funds raised by the campaign until Steve is able to attend to his personal affairs.
3.  Does Steve have health and disability insurance?

Unfortunately, Steve held neither health nor disability insurance at the time he suffered his stroke.  His brother Collin Parker has applied for Medicaid on Steve’s behalf to assist Steve with future medical expenses.
4.  Was Steve’s stroke caused by COVID-19 (coronavirus)?

We do not know.  Steve was not tested for coronavirus during his stay at the hospital.  At the time, it was not widely understood that a stroke could be caused by the COVID-19 virus.  Although Steve later tested negative for active virus at the rehabilitation center, he has not undergone an antibody test to determine if he previously had the virus that causes COVID-19.
5.   How is Steve progressing?

Steve is receiving inpatient occupational, physical, and speech therapy at a rehabilitation center.  Steve is beginning to try to vocalize and can take a few steps with the assistance of his therapist and a wide base quad cane.  Steve currently has nominal use of his right arm.
6.     What care will Steve receive when he is able to return home?  Who will care for him?

Steve lived alone at the time he suffered his stroke.  After he is discharged from the inpatient rehabilitation center, Steve will move to his brother Collin Parker’s house.  Steve will still require ongoing occupational, physical, and speech therapy as well as the assistance of a home health aide to perform self-care and home management activities.  Collin and his wife will help Steve while attending to their young family and professional obligations.

Donations (1.3K)

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  • Anonymous
    • $500 
    • 1 mo
  • Anonymous
    • $1,000 
    • 3 mos
  • Paul Weinstein
    • $100 
    • 5 mos
  • Caroline Randall
    • $200 
    • 6 mos
  • Caroline Randall
    • $200 
    • 1 yr
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Gary Kessler
Chevy Chase, MD
Collin Parker, Co Trustee of Stephen Parker Special Needs Trust

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