NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Steve Kragthorpe pondered the worst-case scenarios of continuing to coach at LSU after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
“What if I wake up the day of the SEC championship game and I can’t coach?” he said Friday at BCS championship game media day.
That didn’t happen and Kragthorpe has remained a vital part of the coaching staff for top-ranked LSU, which plays No. 2 Alabama on Monday in the BCS championship game at the Superdome.
It hasn’t been easy for the 46-year-old Kragthorpe. He takes medication to treat the symptoms of his disease. He says the meds help him get through the day just fine, but when they start wearing off the stiffness and shaking in his left arm and leg come back.
Still, not only did the worst-case scenario never arise, Kragthorpe didn’t miss a game. He had to give up his duties as offensive coordinator just weeks before the season started, but he remained on as the quarterbacks coach – and as an inspiration to the team.
“He’s still heavily involved in the offense and he’s a great coach,” LSU offensive lineman T-Bob Hebert said. “Having coach Kragthorpe here has been one of the biggest blessings and additions to this season.”
Kragthorpe was hired by coach Les Miles as offensive coordinator after last season, but after spring practice he started to feel that something was not quite right.
During a summer vacation, the fatigue and cramps in his extremities got worse.