The Two-Way
7:07 pm
Tue August 23, 2011

Legendary Women's Basketball Coach Pat Summitt Diagnosed With Alzheimer's

Pat Summitt, college basketball's winningest coach, said in an interview that she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type.

The legendary coach, who has 1,071 career victories and eight national championships as the University of Tennessee's women's basketball coach, also said she would continue coaching.

"I'm not going to let this keep me from coaching," Summitt told the Washington Post. She said she first noticed something was wrong when she would forget little things like what time she had to get in to the office and her son noticed that she had started asking the same questions more than once.

In an interview with the Knoxville News Sentinel, Summit said her "initial reaction to learning she had a progressive condition that could impair her mental acuity was one of anger and denial."

But now she's accepted it and said it will probably "inspire me more."

The 59-year-old Summitt also released this video asserting her commitment to coaching:

The AP has a bit on the team's reaction:

Tennessee athletics director Joan Cronan told the AP that Summitt first thought her symptoms were side effects from medicine she was taking to treat rheumatoid arthritis. She said Summitt appears to be feeling better after beginning to get treatment for the dementia condition and speaking publically about it.

"She's ready to fight this and move on," Cronan said. "She had to come to grips with how she wanted to face it."

Summitt told the Knoxville paper she would rely on medication and mental exercises to manage the disease.

"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."

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.