Sports stars rally for Summitt amid health report

Athletes and coaches took to social media Sunday morning to offer support for Pat Summitt amid a report that the legendary basketball coach’s health is declining.

Summitt’s family, in a statement Sunday, acknowledged that her early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type, has progressed over the past few days.

“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,” the statement said.

The Knoxville News Sentinel, citing a source, reported early Sunday morning that Summitt is “struggling” and that her family is “preparing for the worst.”

“I don’t think anybody knows whether she will last a day, a month or a year,” the source told the News Sentinel.

The News Sentinel report prompted an outpouring of reaction on Twitter. Sports figures such as Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs, former Volunteers football coach David Cutcliffe, WNBA star DeLisha Milton-Jones and “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts tweeted their prayers for Summitt.

Summitt, 64, coached the Tennessee women’s basketball team to eight national championships in her 38 seasons at the university. She recorded 1,098 career victories — the most in Division I college basketball history for a men’s or women’s coach — before stepping down in 2012, one year after announcing she had early-onset dementia.

Named the NCAA coach of the year seven times, Summitt led the Lady Vols to 22 Final Fours (18 NCAA, 4 AIAW) in her nearly four decades as coach. Of her eight national championships, she won three straight from 1996 to 1998.


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