They’ve called Pat Summitt a ground breaker, a legend, an inspiration and the “Wizard of Knoxville,” a nod to UCLA’s John Wooden, who may be the only college basketball coach who can compare.
She’s recorded more than 1,000 victories at Tennessee in women’s basketball, eight national titles, two Olympic medals (silver as a U.S. player in 1976 and gold as Team USA women’s head coach in 1984) and enough memories for multiple lifetimes.
Only here comes the saddest news of all, Pat Summitt, at just age 59, has been diagnosed with early onset dementia.
Really though, nothing is certain, except this is one cruel disease.
“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.
And how brutal is it that a woman of such accomplishment, wisdom and impact might have her career cut short, robbing any number of players that would’ve enjoyed her guidance.
She’s an indomitable presence, who made her point about increased funding and opportunity and understanding through force of will, not whine. Pat Summitt didn’t claim people owed her or her women anything. She just proved they did.
Researchers discover common cause of all forms of ALS
I have partnered with Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine to help create awareness for PPA research. A couple days ago, this department had a MAJOR breakthrough in the researching and testing of the brutal disease ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The relentless persistence of a quarter century has finally paid of for senior author Teepu Siddique, M.D., Professor of the Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurosciences at Northwestern’s Feinberg School and a neurologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
He said he was initially drawn to it because, “It was one of the most difficult problems in neurology and the most devastating, a disease without any treatment or known cause.”
The underlying disease process of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS and Lou Gehrig’s disease), a fatal neurodegenerative disease that paralyzes its victims, has long eluded scientists and prevented development of effective therapies. Scientists weren’t even sure all its forms actually converged into a common disease process.
But a new Northwestern Medicine study for the first time has identified a common cause of all forms of ALS.