Mark Richt pushing forward with ACCN after Parkinson’s diagnosis

Jul 22, 2021
Mark Richt pushing forward with ACCN after Parkinson's diagnosis

Mark Richt isn’t giving up just yet.

Despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease earlier this year, the longtime college football coach is gearing up for yet another season working with the ACC Network.

Richt, who revealed his diagnosis earlier this month, was in Charlotte ready to go on Wednesday for the start of ACC Kickoff on the conference’s TV network.

“The worst thing you can do is go in the tank,” Richt said, . “You got to keep a positive attitude. You got to keep moving.”

Mark Richt: ‘I just move slower’

Richt spent 15 seasons at Georgia from 2001-15, and compiled a 145-51 record there while winning a pair of SEC championships. The 61-year-old then spent three seasons at Miami, where he went to school, but .

He then joined the ACC Network as an analyst.

Richt announced on social media on July 1 that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but didn’t elaborate much about it. He said Wednesday that he had been dealing with a number of symptoms that eventually led him to seek help from a doctor, including fatigue, balance issues and problems with basic motor skills.

He also said that he believes he may have been dealing with these symptoms during his final few seasons coaching, though he knows he can’t be sure.

“Even going back as far as Georgia, just my energy seemed depleted,” he said, . “You know, working 15 years at Georgia could do that, too, so you didn’t really know what it was.”

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Though it’s certainly been a difficult adjustment, Richt said that he’s still been able to manage his symptoms well — even if that means he has to move at a different pace.

“I can do almost anything, I just move slower,” Richt said, . “The thing about Parkinson’s that I’m learning is when you get symptoms of slower movement, you get tremors sometimes. I’ve had a very slight tremor in the left hand. Your muscles get rigid if you don’t move and keep stretching.

“For me, to walk, I have to really focus on walking. I could be in a chair. And if I say in my brain, get up and go, I usually get up and go. What you are doing is training your brain to handle this new responsibility.”

Richt nearly died of a heart attack in 2019, after he suffered a heart attack during a morning workout at a gym. He said that two arteries were “100% blocked,” and needed three stents placed in one artery and a fourth stent added in the other.

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Despite all of his health issues, however, Richt is still incredibly optimistic.

“We’re here on Earth, it’s temporal. Heaven, it’s forever, Heaven is everlasting,” Richt said, . “And the truth of the matter is, we’re all going to live somewhere forever, rather than live for eternity. It’s just a matter of where we’re going to go. So that’s why I’m so thankful to coach.”

Longtime Georgia and Miami coach Mark Richt revealed earlier this month that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

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Shawn Utley

Shawn previously worked as a journalist for several local newspapers until he realized the potential of internet for news reporting. He joined the team as a contributor which provided him a platform to dedicate his experience and knowledge for a wider range of audience. He excels in curating business news for the website.