Pat Summitt dementia diagnosis: the Tennessee women's basketball coach will soldier on

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Aug. 24 2011 8:37 AM

Tennessee Coach Pat Summitt Will Soldier On, Despite Dementia Diagnosis

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Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt is the winningest Division I college coach currently employed. She also has early onset dementia, as she announced yesterday. She's only 59 years old. It's heartbreaking for anyone so relatively young to come down with such a debilatating disease, but for a woman whose strategic sports thinking is so brilliant it is a particular blow. Summitt has vowed to continue coaching with the help of her staff, but commentators are already pondering how this might affect the Tennessee team--the incoming freshman class of Lady Vols is ranked No. 1, says ESPN. Despite the reservations some sports fans might have about Summitt continuing to coach, it seems like she's taking every necessary precaution and that her presence will be more of an inspiration than a distraction. The Washington Post's Sally Jenkins spoke to Summitt in the video below.

Jessica Grose is a frequent Slate contributor and the author of the novel Sad Desk Salad. Follow her on Twitter.