A former NFL lineman and longtime Division I head coach is suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Former Baylor and Kentucky head coach Guy Morriss has been dealing with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease for nearly a year, according to a new report.
The 66-year-old Morriss told WKYT he was first diagnosed with a form of dementia four years ago. Eventually, it progressed to the point that everyday tasks such as writing his name, getting dressed and tying his shoes were impossible.
Fortunately, it seems like Morriss has made some progress of late:
Last fall, Morris visited the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, where testing revealed Guy was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
With treatment, including a drug called Aricept, and a lot of hard work, Guy is beginning to become Guy again. In a way, his football background has helped Morriss tackle therapy designed to improve the disconnect between his brain and his body.
“Guy takes it home with him. So if he doesn’t perform up to his standards on one particular task, he will go home and practice as though he was in a game,” Dr. Jica said of his patient. “He can see that there’s difficulty, and he works at it. He practices. And that’s incredibly good for his brain.”
“You stay with it. You learn the pattern again. That’s a win for me,” Morris said. “Dressing myself is a win for me. Tying my shoes is a win for me.”
Morriss’ doctor believes his condition is likely related to his 15-year career as an NFL offensive lineman. He played for the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots from 1973-1987.
Morriss coached Kentucky in 2001 and 2002 before leading Baylor from 2003-07. He also served as the head coach at Division II Texas A&M-Commerce from 2009-12.
Our thoughts are with Morriss and his family as he battles this disease.