Coach Kim Mulkey, who is taking undefeated Baylor University into the Final Four of the national women’s basketball championship in two days, has been diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, the school said.
Bell’s palsy is a form of facial paralysis caused by a nerve dysfunction that results in the inability to control muscles. The condition usually has a rapid onset, often occurring overnight.
“I noticed while we were in Des Moines last week that my tongue felt strange,” Mulkey said yesterday in a statement. “Yesterday I noticed when I smiled, only the left side of my mouth was working. Also, my right eye was drooping and I couldn’t hear properly out of my right ear.”
Mulkey said she missed practice two days ago and went to the doctor after consulting with the team’s trainer, Alex Olson.
“Coach Mulkey is being treated with an anti-viral medication along with oral steroids to reduce the inflammation of the facial nerve,” Olson said.
The Lady Bears are two wins from their second national championship under Mulkey and the NCAA’s first 40-win season. Baylor meets Stanford on April 1 in Denver, while Connecticut and Notre Dame play in the second National Collegiate Athletic Association national semifinal contest.
The championship game is April 3.