#PrayForPat

Record-breaking basketball coach and Alzheimer’s advocate Pat Summitt gravely ill

U.S. President Barack Obama awards a 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom to former University of Tennessee basketball coach Pat Summitt in Washington, May 29, 2012. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

The health of legendary former women’s Tennessee basketball coach Pat Summitt, the all-time NCAA wins leader, has taken a turn for the worse, according to her family, as her Alzheimer’s disease progresses.

The 64-year-old stepped down as Tennessee’s coach in 2012, a year after announcing her diagnosis of early onset dementia. She had distinguished herself throughout her career, going 1,098-208 (the most career wins of any Division 1 men’s or women’s basketball coach), with eight national titles, and currently holds the title of head coach emeritus of the Tennessee women’s team. In 2012, President Obama awarded Summitt the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“She is surrounded by those who mean the most to her and during this time, we ask for prayers for Pat and her family and friends, as well as your utmost respect and privacy,” her family said in a statement. Former players and supporters from the women’s basketball communities were issuing support on Twitter using the hashtag #PRAYFORPAT.

Since being diagnosed, Summitt has played a leading role in Alzheimer’s advocacy, launching the Pat Summitt Foundation. The Pat Summitt Alzheimer’s Clinic will also open at the University of Tennessee medical center at the end of the year. At a charity event last year honoring Summitt, Tennessee women’s athletic director Joan Cronan said Summitt’s approach to the disease had been “facing it straight-on and she’s done it giving back as she always has.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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