Coach Gary Gaines diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's, teams - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Coach Gary Gaines diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's, teams up with Alzheimer's Association

Coach Gary Gaines / (Source: KWES) Coach Gary Gaines / (Source: KWES)
Coach Gary Gaines / (Source: KFDA) Coach Gary Gaines / (Source: KFDA)
Source: Amarillo Alzheimer's Association Source: Amarillo Alzheimer's Association

Legendary West Texas high school football Coach Gary Gaines has faced many battles on the gridiron, but his biggest battle lies ahead.

Gaines, 68, was recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's Disease.

His family says, "Gary is staying positive. There are very small noticeable changes. He is still traveling and working. He is doing well."

The former football coach has been credited with putting Texas high school football on the map with his memorable run to the 1989 5A State Championship with the Odessa Permian Panthers. 

Following his diagnosis, Gaines and his family want to help increase awareness and funding to help find a cure for the disease.

They have teamed up with the Amarillo Alzheimer's Association to help with the upcoming Blondes vs. Brunettes Flag Football Game, which aims to raise $70,000.

Gaines will be in attendance as an honorary coach, presenting the game ball and calling plays during the friendly competition. 

The Alzheimer's Association plans to invite his former coaches, players and area football teams to attend the game to support Gaines and all those affected by memory loss diseases.

The flag football game is June 10 at Bushland Falcon Stadium located at 99 FM 2381 in Bushland. Gates open at 5 p.m. and kick-off is at 6 p.m.

MORE: Blondes, Brunettes and YOU

Tickets to the game are $25 and include entrance to the Victory After Party immediately following the game at the Piehl Barn in Bushland. The party will include live music and free adult beverages.

To purchase a ticket or donate to the cause, click here

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