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Tennessee's Pat Summitt has early onset dementia

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. —Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt has been diagnosed with early onset dementia.

In a statement from Summitt released by the university today, the Hall of Fame coach said plans coach the Vols during the 2011-12 season, but may have some "limitations." She said that she went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., in May.

The Knoxville News Sentinel first reported Summitt's condition.

The 59-year-old Summitt told the newspaper she plans to rely on medication and mental exercises to manage the progressive condition that could lead to Alzheimer's. She planned to meet with the Volunteers this afternoon to inform them of the diagnosis.

Wichita State coach Jody Adams texted Summitt on Tuesday morning after learning the news. She spoke to Tennessee associate head coach Holly Warlick.

"You're heartbroken," Adams said. "The courageousness of her stepping forward and to be able to put her life on display as she has — she's a great leader for all women, not just young women."

Adams, who played for Summitt's 1991 NCAA champions, knows how her coach will approach the future.

"I know she will battle," Adams said. "She's a competitor. Those are the things that rubbed off on us. Staying at Tennessee, and continuing to do what she's always done, she's just an unbelievable role model."

Summitt has coached 37 seasons at Tennessee and has 1,071 career victories and eight national championships.

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