Parkinson’s sidelines ex-Racers’ Kennedy
Posted: Friday, October 28, 2011 7:01 pm
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said Thursday that he is in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.
Kennedy took a leave of absence from the team earlier this month to undergo testing after experiencing neck and shoulder pain for several months that led to an inability to sleep regularly. The tests revealed that Kennedy was in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement.
“I am heeding the advice of my doctors and addressing the disease and its symptoms,” Kennedy said in a statement. “We have begun a long-term treatment plan and recovery. My doctors are encouraged and are telling me I will be able to come back soon.”
Associate head coach Glynn Cyprien took over when Kennedy took his leave and will continue to be in charge of the team.
“We have a good prognosis,” Kennedy said. “My intention is to return to the court as soon as it is prudent. Until my return, I have great confidence in Coach Cyprien and the staff I have assembled to lead this great group of young men and this basketball program.”
The 47-year-old Kennedy was hired from Murray State in May after Mark Turgeon left to become coach at Maryland.
Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne said the school’s No. 1 concern is for Kennedy’s health and that the Aggies will support him as he deals with this disease.
“I fully expect Billy to have a long and illustrious coaching career here … when he is cleared to return to the court,” Byrne said.
Senior guard Dash Harris said he spoke with Kennedy on Thursday and that he “looks well.” He added that the team is hoping to have him back soon.
“He left this team in great hands,” Harris said. “We have great leadership … on this team and on this staff, and everyone knows what he expects, so once he comes back it’ll be a smooth ride.”
Published in The Messenger 10.28.11