We had the good fortune of connecting with Navin P. Kumar and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Navin, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I was born in Arizona to parents who are originally from India and I’m the direct descendant of a king from ancient India (King Kaushika) who would voluntarily give up his warrior life and wealth to become a spiritual teacher, changing his name to “Vishwamitra” (Sanskrit name meaning “friend to the world”) and devoted his life to helping people.

Similarly, I too have devoted my life to teaching and helping people given the medical struggles I’ve faced since birth, being born with a rare congenital heart condition, almost getting my right arm amputated due to a cardiac catheterization accident when I was only 20 days old. I also have underwent 5 major open heart surgeries throughout my life, plus several more heart-related surgeries resulting in me having a partially mechanical heart and electronic pacemaker, earning me the nickname of the “Bionic Man”. I was not expected to survive any of my heart surgeries but a positive attitude on my part and many friends worldwide of different faiths all praying for me enabled me to defy the odds to survive.

In addition to my rare heart condition, I was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s Disease 8 years ago at age 39, and in spite of my medical struggles, I wound up getting back into table tennis for the exercise which helped both my heart and Parkinson’s to improve and I now represent the USA internationally, having won my first silver medal for the USA in doubles and bronze medal in singles at the 2019 ITTF Parkinson’s World Table Tennis Championships. I am hoping to win the gold for the USA at this year’s ITTF Parkinson’s World Table Tennis Championships in Germany this September. Win or lose, I’m grateful to represent our USA on the International level at my age of 47 with Parkinson’s and showing the world that a positive attitude is the catalyst to enable my dreams to come true in spite of my medical struggles which have significantly improved.

I also speak worldwide as a motivational speaker, sharing my stories of survival while sharing my lessons learned on dealing with the tough times in life. I have been featured on television in news interviews and recently I was selected from many applicants to appear on the “American Portrait – Maryland Special” television program on PBS in Maryland where I currently live.

Given how much I enjoy speaking to large groups with ease, eventually I made the jump into movie acting and I made my movie acting and executive producer debuts in “Attack of the Unknown” starring Richard Grieco and I play one of Richard’s SWAT Teammates, “Atul”. Richard has been a great friend and mentor to me, while cheering me on in my efforts to make a positive impact on people through my motivational speeches, as well as cheering me on in my table tennis matches.

My next movie I’ll be acting in (Bloodthirst) starring Costas Mandylor will be released worldwide later to this Summer of 2021 and I play a post apocalyptic vampire as I’ll have my first action/fight scene as I proved to myself that in spite of Parkinson’s, I was able to physically perform wonderfully to make what should be a great fight scene.

Whether I’m movie acting or representing our USA for table tennis, I do what I do, not for fame or stardom but to show the world that we can still achieve our dreams in life in spite of our struggles and it all starts with having a positive attitude.

I have given motivational speeches at medical conferences and corporate events, and one day it’s my dream to give motivational speeches to the movie/television communities in the Los Angeles area and help folks deal with some of the challenges that are unique to those communities, including dealing with feelings of rejection for auditions that don’t go well for example.

Having survived all my heart surgeries and conquering Parkinson’s each day by staying physically and mentally active in conjunction with taking Parkinson’s medication, has impacted me today by giving me immense strength of resiliency and being able to bounce back higher whenever life tries to knock me down, and embracing failure and seeing it as my greatest teacher that I can learn from and grow stronger.

I will continue being an unstoppable force for positivity and if life knocks me down, I’ll laugh it off, pick myself back up and face all my life challenges with a smile.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
In addition to movie acting, representing our USA for table tennis and motivational speaking, my educational background is in computer science with a strong interest in cardiology. I currently work in healthcare on the IT side, supporting the fight against the coronavirus. I love my job as it ultimately enables people in medically under-served communities to have access to quality healthcare. I am most proud of the fact that I have been able to achieve a good balance between all my various interests as I continue to do what I can to unconditionally make a positive impact on the lives of others.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I do not live in the Los Angeles area, so I can only speak for the Washington DC area which I live close by to. I would take them sightseeing and checking out the great museums in our nation’s capital (Smithsonian), while sampling the great international food that DC offers.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Special shoutout to my parents, siblings, two daughters, and to all my Facebook friends/fans/family worldwide, which includes folks who support me in the medical, table tennis and movie-making USA and international communities. We feed off of each other’s positive attitude and energy that enables us all to succeed.

Website: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm10297504/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/navin.kumar.161

Other: Google “bionic table tennis” to see many articles written worldwide about Navin P. Kumar, as well as his past television news features and recent Sports Illustrated Magazine feature.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.