March 29, 2012
WACO, Texas - Baylor head women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey has been diagnosed with Bell's Palsy, school officials announced Thursday.
"I noticed while we were in Des Moines last week that my tongue felt strange. 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. Our trainer, Alex Olson, examined me before practice and it was decided I needed immediate medical care. Instead of going to practice, I went to the doctor," said Mulkey.
Bell's Palsy is a form of facial paralysis resulting from a dysfunction of the facial nerve (cranial nerve VII) that results in the inability to control facial muscles of the affected side. The condition usually has a rapid onset of partial or complete paralysis that often occurs overnight.
The facial nerve passes through a small canal in the skull beneath the ear. It is thought that an inflammatory condition causes the facial nerve to swell which leads to compression of the nerve as it passes through the canal. While the exact cause of the swelling is unknown, many physicians believe the cause may be due to a virus.
"Coach Mulkey is being treated with an anti-viral medication along with oral steroids to reduce the inflammation of the facial nerve," Olson said.