BOSTON (CBS) – It’s a stunning diagnosis for a coaching legend.

Tennessee’s women’s basketball coach, Pat Summitt, has early onset dementia.

Summitt has been a coach for 37 seasons. She has more than 1,000 wins, eight national championships, and an Olympic gold medal. But this diagnosis may prove to be her greatest challenge yet.

Summitt revealed the diagnosis in an online video to her fans.

At just 59-years-old, the Hall of Fame coach has dementia and she’s not alone. Millie Romito of Boxford says, “it is something that I live with and I just do the best I can and I have a very full life.” Romito was diagnosed at the age of 63 and says the more people talk about the dreaded disease the more helpful it can be.

There are more than 5 million people living with Alzheimer’s in the U.S. including 120,000 people here in Massachusetts. More and more people are being diagnosed at a younger age. Jim Wessler, the President of the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association says better awareness and diagnostic capabilities are responsible for the surge.

Right now there is no cure for Alzheimer’s.

If you or a family member is struggling with dementia there is help available.

You can call the Alzheimer’s helpline 24/7 at 1-800-272-3900 or log onto their website.


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