AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 29 (UPI) -- The wife of former University of Texas football coach Darrell Royal Tuesday acknowledged publicly for the first time he's had dementia for several years.
Edith Royal told Texas lawmakers in a joint committee studying Alzheimer's disease of living with her 87-year-old husband's disease, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
With her husband at her side, she said: "Every day since Darrell's diagnosis of dementia, I deal with the stress of managing everything without my best friend at my side helping me make decisions."
She also announced creation of the Darrell K. Royal Research Fund for Alzheimer's Disease.
She praised those who had visited the coach, whose 1957-76 record at Texas was 167-47-5. Royal won three national championships and 11 Southwest Conference titles and never had a losing season.
"It is now members of those [Longhorns] teams and our football family that return from all over the country almost daily to shower Darrell with love, engage him in activities, play music, sing for him, take him out for a barbecue sandwich or a ride in a new pickup truck, and, as importantly, provide some element of relief for me," she said.
"It is not just the free time for me, but I know that those moments with his former players and lifelong friends are pure enjoyment for him, even if it is only in that moment."