Pat Summitt Has Early Dementia

But she intends to keep coaching
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2011 4:22 PM CDT
Pat Summitt Has Early Dementia
Pat Summitt celebrates cutting down the net after the Lady Vols' 64-48 win against the Stanford Cardinal in the Championsip Game of the 2008 NCAA Women's Final Four, April 8, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.   (Getty Images)

Pat Summitt has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s type early onset dementia, she revealed in an interview with the Knoxville News Sentinel last night, but she intends to keep her gig as head coach of Tennessee’s Lady Vols. “There’s not going to be any pity party, and I’ll make sure of that,” she said when she broke the news to her players today. She plans to manage her illness with medication and mental exercise like nightly puzzles, while leaning on her "outstanding coaching staff" when necessary.

“She’s always better when she knows what she’s fighting against,” her son said. “She’s going to prepare just like a game for her health.” Summitt got the diagnosis in May, after a season in which she sometimes lost confidence in her decisions. But now she’s determined to keep coaching, and Tennessee Athletic Director Joan Cronan says she’s comfortable letting her do so. “We’re in uncharted waters,” Cronan says, “but we certainly have a great captain.” (Read more Pat Summitt stories.)

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