Oregon St. Athletic Director has announced that he has been diagnoses with Parkinson's disease, a brain disorder that occurs when a significant number of certain nerve cells called neurons die or become impaired. The neurons produce a chemical known as dopamine, which provides for smooth, coordinated function of the body's muscles.
De Carolis, 58, had neck surgery last November, but in the following months didn't seem to be getting any better.
De Carolis first noted symptoms almost 3 years ago when he was conducting the coaching search that led to the hiring of Craig Robinson as OSU's basketball coach. He said his left hand shook slightly, and he was losing coordination, but thought it was stress related. But when severe neck pain started, the need for further treatment became apparent to De Carolis.
“Once I found out what we were dealing with, I decided to get the mystery speculation out of the way,” De Carolis explained.
De Carolis is still in the early stages of the disease, and does not need medication. Treatment is focused on exercise and diet to control the symptoms.
De Carolis indicated that he has full intentions of staying on the job and completing his contract, which was extended through June 2016 in May.
De Carolis said he intends to reach out to former Trail Blazer Brian Grant, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 2 1/2 years ago and has formed a foundation to help fight the disease.
“I want to learn what he is going through,” De Carolis said in a statement to the Portland Tribune. “I’d like to use whatever little notoriety I have to work with his foundation and do what I can to help.”
De Carolis has been with Oregon St. since 1998, and as Athletic Director since 1999. During his career, the remodels of Reser Stadium and the Valley Football Center, the softball complex, and Goss Stadium, among other things, have been completed. This summer, ground has also been broken on the new track and field facility.