11:46 p.m. EST, April 18, 2012|George Diaz

As I wrote a few months back: “The prevailing sentiment is understandable. Pat Summitt is a fighter. She will beat this thing. She is incredible. She is resilient.

All of that is true, except one thing.

Pat Summitt is going to lose. Alzheimer’s is going to win.

It always does.”

Summitt’s resignation on Wednesday as coach of the University of Tennessee women’s basketball teams proves as much.

It is heartbreaking news. In the context of sports alone, Summitt is a superstar with more than 1,000 career victories and eight NCAA titles.

Hopefully, she will now be a champion for another cause:

Finding a cure for this insidious disease.

“I’ve loved being the head coach at Tennessee for 38 years, but I recognize that the time has come to move into the future and to step into a new role,” Summitt said.

“I want to help ensure the stability of the program going forward. I would like to emphasize that I fully intend to continue working as head coach emeritus, mentoring and teaching life skills to our players, and I will continue my active role as a spokesperson in the fight against Alzheimer’s through the Pat Summitt Foundation Fund.”

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. An estimated 5.3 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and  78 million baby boomers are approaching the age of greatest risk for developing the disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and arguably the most insidious. It is a devil that robs the spirit of those you love. I know this as fact. My dear mother died of the disease in 2009. She was 88.

Summitt is only 59, and has early onset of Alzheimer’s.  She noticed she was stumbling during team huddles, trying to set up plays or defenses. The Wizard of Knoxville _ one of the greatest basketball minds on the planet _ was having trouble with X’s and O’s. There were other strange quirks, like losing her car keys a couple of times a day.

Slowly, day by day, the disease is killing a little bit of Summitt every day.

She will carry on courageously, as she always does, as my mom did, as so many others did before them.

Sadly, Alzheimer’s will win again.

It always does.

Godspeed, and most importantly, let’s find a cure.

Copyright © 2012, OrlandoSentinel.com

Source : Pat Summitt can now be champion in fight against Alzheimer’s – Orlando Sentinel