Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey has been diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, a form of facial paralysis. Baylor is in the women’s Final Four and will play Stanford on Sunday.
Mulkey told the Boston Globe that before practice Wednesday, she noticed only the left side of her mouth was working when she smiled, her right eye was drooping and she couldn’t hear properly out of her right ear.
“When I smile it’s crooked and when I talk, and talk loud, the hollowness in my hearing is weird,” Mulkey told the Associated Press. “But it’s not going to keep me from hollering.”
Baylor team trainer Alex Olson says Mulkey is being treated with anti-viral medication and oral steroids to reduce the inflammation of the facial nerve that causes the problem.
According to webmd.com, Bell’s palsy is a type of paralysis of the muscles in the face, thought to be due to inflammation of the seventh cranial nerve, also known as the facial nerve. Although it can strike anyone, it seems to occur more frequently in individuals recovering from viral infections.
“This isn’t going to change how I coach,” Mulkey told the Associated Press. “It isn’t going to change anything. I’ll just be another ugly coach with a crooked face.”