Army assistant Tucker Waugh reveals Parkinson's diagnosis

Army takes the field before the first half of an NCAA college football game against the Navy, Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Army assistant coach Tucker Waugh revealed Tuesday that he has Parkinson’s disease.

In a story released on the Army athletics website, Waugh said he is beginning to exhibit symptoms of the disease. But it has not stopped him from fulfilling his duties as West Point’s slotbacks coach and recruiting coordinator.

“When you see me, know that my left hand may shake, but my resolve is steadfast to attack this condition with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind,” he said.

The Parkinson’s Foundation defines the disease as a “neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominately dopamine-producing neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra.”

Symptoms generally develop slowly over years. The progression of symptoms is often a bit different from one person to another due to the diversity of the disease. People with PD may experience: Tremor, slowness of movements, limb rigidity and gait and balance problems.

The cause remains largely unknown. Although there is no cure, treatment options vary and include medications and surgery. While Parkinson’s itself is not fatal, disease complications can be serious. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rated complications from PD as the 14th cause of death in the United States.

Waugh has been dealing with Parkinson’s for a few years and decided to reveal his diagnosis publicly earlier this month after others began to ask about his health.

“I am releasing this information solely because my symptoms are becoming more noticeable and have resulted in inquiries regarding my health,” he said.

Waugh is entering his 17th season as an Army assistant. He first coached the team’s wide receivers from 2000 to 2004 before a brief stint at Stanford. He returned to West Point in 2007 and has had roles on the staffs of Stan Brock, Rich Ellerson and now Jeff Monken.

Under Monken, who was hired ahead of the 2014 season, the Black Knights have won 18 games over the past two seasons, going 8-5 and 10-3, respectively. In both of those years, Army defeated Navy and won a bowl game — the Heart of Dallas Bowl in 2016 and the Armed Forces Bowl in 2017. The win over Navy in 2016 snapped a 14-game losing streak in the series for the Black Knights.

Monken said Waugh’s condition has not had an impact on his coaching. He said Waugh is “one of the best” coaches he has ever been around.

“He may feel at times that it changes the way he coaches or approaches his job, but in terms of his effectiveness, there has been no change,” Monken said. “And that is just an unbelievable credit to his mental toughness, resilience and dedication to this profession.”

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Sam Cooper is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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