published Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Vols coach Pat Summitt diagnosed with early onset dementia

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    Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt waves to the fans after Tennessee defeated Kentucky 90-65 to win the NCAA college basketball championship game at the Southeastern Conference tournament on Sunday, March 6, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

KNOXVILLE - University of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt has been diagnosed with early onset dementia, the Times Free Press confirmed Tuesday afternoon.

Summitt Statements
Summitt Statements

In a video statement released on the UT athletic web site later Tuesday afternoon, Summitt said she wanted to address some ongoing health concerns. After visiting with locals doctors, she visited the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where doctors diagnosed her with early onset dementia ("Alzheimer's type).

"I plan to continue to be your coach," Summitt said. "I realize I may have some limitations with this condition since there will be some good days and some bad days.

"For that reason, I will be relying on my outstanding coaching staff like never before. We have always collaborated on every facet of Lady Vol basketball; and now you will see Holly Warlick, Dean Lockwood and Mickie DeMoss taking on more responsibility as their duties will change significantly."

The 59-year-old Summitt, who has 1,071 career victories, eight national titles and an Olympic gold medal, still plans to coach the Lady Volunteers this season.

"Pat Summitt is our head coach and she will continue to be," said Joan Cronan, UT's interim athletic director and school's women's athletic director for more than 30 years. "She is an icon not only for women's basketball but for all of women's athletics. For Pat to stand-up and share her health new is just a continuing example of her courage.

"Life is an unknown and none of us have a crystal ball. But I do have a record of knowing what Pat Summitt stands for; excellence, strength, honesty and courage."

More coverage and reaction online and in Wednesday's Times Free Press.

about Patrick Brown...

Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...

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allenkgolden said...

My heart goes out to this dear woman. There is hope for people with Alzheimer's Disease. Not only are there medications but treatments which can actually reverse many of the effects of AD for many people. It is just not shared with enough people. Why not go for the hope? In the book The Dynamite Story of Alzheimer's Recoveries it tells how to make simple dietary changes, resulting in reversal of AD. While it may not be 100% for every patient, is it not worth a try?

August 23, 2011 at 2:41 p.m.
eastridge8 said...

I am so very sorry to hear of this tragic news but as allenkgolden said above there are many new treatments and reversals for this terrible disease. You just don't expect to hear of someone as young and active as Pat Summitt to be diagnosed so early in life.

Pat will always be THE heart and soul of the Lady Vols Basketball program. ALWAYS.

August 23, 2011 at 3:31 p.m.
moonpie said...

This is terrible. Even great minds and great people are not immune to the ravages of this terrible disease. I wish her a slow progression and a long meaningful life, and a peaceful journey.

August 23, 2011 at 9:01 p.m.
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