Pat Summit

By Corine Gatti

University of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt announced in an open letter that she was diagnosed by doctors as having early onset dementia.

The inspiring part of this story is that the 59-year-old Hall Famer is determined to continue coaching the Lady Vol's for the 2011-2012 season and has never been one to give up.

 “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,” Summit said in her letter to the UT family.

"It could a long time to be diagnosed with early-onset disease," said a report from The Wall Street Journal. "Alzheimer’s isn’t typically expected in someone young. About 200,000 people are living with younger-onset disease, compared to about 5.2 million 65 and up,"  according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Summitt made a name for herself in college hoops for almost four decades in Tennessee. The all-time winningest coach compiled an overall record of 1037-196, winning 10 titles and eight NCAA national championships during her illustrious career with the Vols.

Summitt addressed challenged adults in Cleveland during a benefit about keeping a positive attitude when faced wth challenges as she has done on court with her UT team.

“When you get up in the morning you should say ‘Good morning, Lord,’ not 'Good Lord, morning!’ You need to decide how you want to start your engine.”

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