On Thursday evening, Billy Kennedy finally announced the medical condition that has kept him away from the Texas A&M basketball team. And, well, its not good.
“Through testing, it has been discovered that I am dealing with an early stage of Parkinson’s disease,” Kennedy said in a statement. “At this time, I am heeding the advice of my doctors and addressing the disease and its symptoms. 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.”
That’s not good.
I’m not a doctor by any stretch, but I can tell you with utter certainty that Parkinson’s is an uncureable, nasty disease. Ask anyone who has a family member with the disease. Or anyone that grew up idolizing Muhammad Ali. According to wikipedia, Parkinson’s is “a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. It results from the death of dopamine-generating cells in the substantia nigra. … Early in the course of the disease, the most obvious symptoms are movement-related, including shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty with walking and gait. Later, cognitive and behavioural problems may arise, with dementia commonly occurring in the advanced stages of the disease.”
The good news is that this was caught early. According to Jeff Goodman, Kennedy is close to returning to the team. That’s a good thing. Parkinson’s can’t be undone, but we can hope that the disease was identified early enough that its effects can be slowed.