Post by Police Moderator on Aug 24, 2011 4:09:55 GMT -5
Dementia diagnosis won't stop legendary coach Pat Summitt Players, colleagues, rivals and fans express disbelief and offer encouragement to Tennessee women's basketball coach, who at 59 hopes to manage condition and continue coaching. By Baxter Holmes August 23, 2011
For a coaching legend who has long maintained control, the diagnosis of a medical condition that robs her of just that didn't seem possible.
So Tuesday, when it was revealed that Tennessee's Hall of Fame women's basketball Coach Pat Summitt, 59, has early-onset dementia, of the Alzheimer's type, the sporting world struggled to grasp the news.
Players, colleagues, rivals and admirers of her 37 years coaching Tennessee responded in shock and disbelief, and issued statements sending prayers, thoughts, warm wishes, love, encouragement and hope.
"I've known Coach Summitt for 23 years," said Louisiana State Coach Nikki Caldwell, who played for Summitt and also coached at UCLA, "and there has never been a fight that she's backed down from."
Only here comes the saddest news of all, Pat Summitt, at just age 59, has been diagnosed with early onset dementia.
"There's not going to be any pity party and I’ll make sure of that," Summitt told the Knoxville News-Sentinel in a statement that is as pure Pat Summitt as you’ll ever find.
After months of what she described as “erratic behavior” she went to the Mayo Clinic in May and has since received the diagnosis. She plans on coaching until she no longer can.
"I feel better just knowing what I’m dealing with,” she told the News-Sentinel. “And as far as I’m concerned it’s not going to keep me from living my life, not going to keep me from coaching."
Really though, nothing is certain, except this is one cruel disease.
What a life this woman has led, and for her not to be able to sit back for decades to come and enjoy every last memory? What an impact this woman has had on so many other lives, and there’s a chance she won’t get to appreciate it, or recall it?