[HT/ Raleigh News Observer]
Dean Smith is almost 80 years old and the effects of aging are taking their toll on the legendary North Carolina basketball coach.
Rumors have been flying about Smith's medical condition to the point where the University of North Carolina released a statement confirming Dean Smith was still alive.
Saturday the Smith family released a statement clarifying Dean Smith's health.
Here's a portion of that family statement:
"Our dad has a progressive neurocognitive disorder that affects his memory. So now, he may not immediately recall the name of every former player from his many years in coaching, but that does not diminish what those players meant to him or how much he cares about them. He still remembers the words of a hymn or a jazz standard, but may not feel up to going to a concert. He still plays golf, though usually only for nine holes instead of eighteen. He still attends some sporting events -you might see him in the stands at his grandson's baseball game. He has difficulty traveling long distances to see the Heels on the road, but he insists on watching all Carolina basketball games on television and cheers as hard as he can for Coach Williams and the team."
Click below for the Smith family statement in it's entirety.
Dean Smith's wife Linnea said in a interview published by the Raleigh News Observer,
"It is a complex medical diagnosis. ... It's in a category of progressive memory disorders, and we're staying away from labels."
Smith is an intensely private person and speculation on his health is a very sensitive subject. The family statement refers to had two hospital procedures in the past three years, one for knee replacement and the other for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Smith's wife Linnea said that after knee replacement surgery in December 2007 there was some "cardiological and neurological complications." She did not elaborate.
Here's the story from our friends at WRAL-TV: http://www.wralsportsfan.com/college_basketball/story/7981459/
And the story from the Raleigh News Observer: http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/07/18/586493/his-memory-is-fading-his-legacy.html
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