Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Pickleball is life for Roger Bunting

Published January 25, 2017 -

CLEARWATER – The phrase “such-and-such saved my life” is so overused to the point of being a cliché today that it’s hard to separate fact from fiction when it comes to life-altering occurrences.

In the case of Clearwater resident Roger Bunting, there’s little doubt that while the sport of pickleball didn’t technically save his life, it helped him recover from a life-threatening illness and gave him a new sense of purpose.

Bunting, a 57-year-old New York native and lifelong tennis player, came down with a serious case of bacterial meningitis in April 2015, and the infection of the membrane surrounding his brain kept Bunting in the hospital for 25 days, many of them spent in the ICU.

After he was finally released from the hospital and beginning his road to recovery, Bunting found he didn’t have the strength or stamina to play tennis, a sport for which he received a scholarship to attend Florida Southern University and one he had been playing competitively on and off for much of his adult life. So he turned to a sport he had previously written off.

“When I got out of the hospital, I was still a tennis player. I wasn’t sold on pickleball,” Bunting said. “I had tried it with a friend of mine in 2013, and I wasn’t a believer.”

Bunting didn’t think about pickleball, which is played by people of all ages using balls and a paddle on a half-tennis court, for more than a year. But when he needed an outlet for regaining his strength, that’s when he decided to give the (1) fast-growing sport a second chance.

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