Jerry Sloan, considered as one of the NBA’s legendary coaches, is facing a personal battle after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia.
According to Salt Lake Tribune Sloan is trying to be active with his lifestyle as he continues to walk four miles a day but the sad truth is that the diseases are also actively progressing after it was detected last fall. But Sloan stated Wednesday that he does not want people to feel sad for his present condition as effects of Parkinson’s can now be visibly noticed on the 74-year old basketball Hall of Famer.
“I don’t want people to feel sorry for me,” Sloan said, who guided the Utah Jazz to a back-to-back appearance in the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998 wherein they lost to the Chicago Bulls.
The Utah Jazz organization issued a statement and posted it on their social media account stating that they consider Sloan as a family and they believe that he will face these diseases with “the same grit and determination” that he has always shown during his stint as the Jazz head coach.
“Jerry Sloan is and will always be a beloved member of the Utah Jazz family, and we know he will approach this fight with the same grit and determination he displayed as a Hall of Fame coach and All-Star player in the NBA for 40-plus years. On behalf of the Miller Family, the Jazz organization and Jazz fans everywhere, we send Jerry and his wife Tammy our love and best wishes,” the statement reads.
Mayo Clinic defines Parkinson’s disease as a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. But while a tremor may be the most well-known sign of Parkinson’s disease, the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement.
There is no cure yet for this disease, although surgery is recommends to regulate certain regions of the brain and to slow down its progress.
On the other hand, Lewy body dementia (LBD) according to the Lewy Body Dementia Association, Inc. is not a rare disease. It affects an estimated 1.4 million individuals and their families in the United States.LBD symptoms can closely resemble other more commonly known diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, it is currently widely under diagnosed.
LBD is an umbrella term for two related diagnoses. LBD refers to both Parkinson’s disease dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies. The earliest symptoms of these two diseases differ, but reflect the same underlying biological changes in the brain. Over time, people with both diagnoses will develop very similar cognitive, physical, sleep, and behavioral symptoms.
TMZ reported that Sloan, who is closely identified with Hall of Famers Karl Malone and John Stockton, has gone public with his condition as the symptoms of the diseases have become visibly noticeable.
Sloan was the Jazz assistant coach in 1984 and was chosen as the team’s head coach in 1988 replacing Frank Layden. He would go on to coach the Jazz for 23 years and was the third winningest coach in the NBA history.
Photo Courtesy: Utah Jazz @utahjazz/Twitter