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Martz gladly aids the effort to find Alzheimer's cure

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  • Martz gladly aids the effort to find Alzheimer's cure

    By Bernie Miklasz
    Of the Post-Dispatch

    The death of former President Ronald Reagan touched Americans of every background. But Reagan's slow and agonizing death, coming 10 years after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, particularly resonated with families that have watched loved ones suffer from the disease.

    Rams coach Mike Martz lost his mother, Betty, in 1997. She had Alzheimer's and deteriorated terribly over the final decade of her life. Since his mom's death, Martz has committed to raising awareness, and funds for research, in an attempt to find a cure for Alzheimer's.

    Saturday, when Reagan died at age 93, Martz was traveling back to St. Louis from Charleston, W.Va. On Friday night Martz and two-time Grammy winner Kathy Mattea spoke at a black-tie gala to benefit the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute. It was hosted by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va). Rockefeller's mother suffered from Alzheimer's.

    Two years ago, Martz appeared before a congressional subcommittee in Washington urging Congress to allocate more funding for Alzheimer's research. He also has hosted a yearly golf tournament to raise money. According to Martz, the event in West Virginia raised $600,000, and it left him feeling hopeful. But Reagan's death reminded Martz of the need to keep pushing. Currently, about 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer's. But that count is expected to grow to 7.7 million by 2030, and 14 million by 2050.

    "It's a national tragedy, but finding a cure is doable," Martz said. "It just takes money and research. We will prevail. But it would be great if we can speed up the process and get there faster."

    News of Reagan's death carried Martz back in time to thoughts of his valiant mother. When Martz was 11, his father left home and never returned. A week after his father left, Martz's oldest brother was killed in an automobile accident.

    Instead of feeling sorry for herself and falling apart, Betty Martz toughened up, got a job and raised four sons on her own. She went to work at a hospital. The job didn't pay much, so Betty usually worked weekends and overtime for a little extra income.

    "My mom always put everyone else first," Martz said. "She just busted her butt to make sure her boys had what we needed. Looking back, I don't know how she did it."

    Betty Martz gradually earned more responsibility and income at the hospital, put her sons through school and saved enough for a decent retirement. She had plans to travel, relax and savor the final years of her life.

    "This was supposed to be her happy time, her reward for working so hard and being such a courageous woman," Martz said. "She was going to spend a lot of time with her children and grandkids and just enjoy everything.

    "But she got Alzheimer's, and it's so devastating to victims. It takes away the best years of their lives. It strips them of their mind and dignity. It reduces them to a shell of what they were.

    "And it's devastating to the families. My brother Fitz took charge in caring for her. He would leave his wife and kids to look in on her all the time. And she would call him 27 times a day - forgetting she'd just called him. The stress took its toll. Fitz had a heart attack. It almost killed him. I would visit her, and she wouldn't know my name, who I was. It was so heartbreaking."

    Martz admired President Reagan but has a special appreciation for Nancy Reagan, because he knows what Mrs. Reagan and her family went through.

    "The president was so open in telling the world (in 1994) that he had Alzheimer's," Martz said. "And he helped the cause dramatically. And we're going to beat this. That's the best way to honor him and honor the memory of my mother and all of those who have suffered from this."

    Martz will do his part to win one for The Gipper.

    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

  • #2
    Re: Martz gladly aids the effort to find Alzheimer's cure

    This is very admirable of him to do. I'm glad Martz is taking an active role in helping.


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    • RamWraith
      SHE has final say!!
      by RamWraith
      I been thinking a lot about the Martz thing the last couple of weeks, do to the fact that I really don't want to see him go. I will be the first to admit he is far from perfect, but what more can we ask for in a head coach. The guy lays it on the lone for us every week. WE NEED SOMEONE TO RUN THE DEFENSE!!!

      But, what I really been thinking about. We are all basing everything on pure stipulation and rumors. No one knows what is happening at Rams Park. Not Bernie, not Howard, not Thomas, not even Avenger. The bottom line is that it comes down to what Georgia wants. She holds the cards. And I believe she is not getting any younger or healthier. You don't see the lady hardly at all any more. I believe she doesn't want to go through any more major changes during her ownership. I believe everyone is very much forgetting about the one main cog in the Rams front office. She I believe will be the one to save Mike's job. Anyone notice how much things have dies down after the blow-up? Was there a couple of little mice put in there place?? I think maybe there a lot of media people that enjoy calling Martz out whenever there is an opportunity. I wouldn't start naming a successor until all the trump cards have been played.
      -11-29-2005, 02:59 PM
    • evil disco man
      Martz Can't Control Kids After Using Last Timeout
      by evil disco man

      A simple trip to the grocery store for Mike Martz and his family turned into complete chaos on Tuesday when the Rams head coach ran out of timeouts. Known for his poor in-game decisions, Martz’s early use of timeouts allowed Chris, David, Tim, and Emily Martz to run wild in the Schnuck’s on Walnut Avenue. The coach wasted his first timeout when David and Tim got into a shoving match while putting on their shoes before departing. “I had to call a timeout just to calm the kids down and get them to the car,” said Martz. The family was less than two minutes away from Schnuck’s when Martz burned his second timeout. Emily was issued a timeout for excessive hair pulling after David’s knee crept into her area of the back seat. The third stoppage, however, has been criticized the most. Martz needlessly challenged his wife Julie’s choice of parking spots, saying it was too far away from the door. The call was upheld, costing Martz his third and final timeout and leaving him with no way of controlling his kids once they got inside the store. Martz’s wife, Julie, said this is not the first time something like this has happened. Aside from his blatant disregard for the timeout process, she described his horrendous clock management skills and his questionable decision-making. “Timmy was two hours early for soccer practice on Monday, Emily was an hour late to swimming, and Mike woke up Chris at four a.m. on Tuesday for no reason,” Julie explained. “And don’t get me started on his last-minute decision to take the kids to ‘Closer’ instead of ‘Fat Albert.’ He completely blew that call.”

      -08-15-2005, 02:41 PM
    • thoey
      Martz' Health
      by thoey
      I just heard a rumor on Fox Sports Radio that the supposed "sinus infection" might be something worse. They suggested that Martz had back surgery during the off season, and that this "infection" might be related some how to that surgery.

      Just wanted to post that here in hopes that the genius's might do some research.
      -10-03-2005, 01:49 PM
    • RamWraith
      Martz isn't the only patient who doesn't want to slow down
      by RamWraith
      By Elizabethe Holland

      Nancy Noedel's physicians were quick to realize she needed a little extra nudging to put her in good health.

      An executive at St. Louis University Hospital and a single mother of two, Noedel wasn't eager to embrace medical advice after she was diagnosed with a chronic inflammatory lung disease two years ago. In particular, Noedel, 46, wasn't keen on the suggestion that she take time off from work on "bad lung days" - thus the extra nudging.

      "My physicians have actually called the office to check to see if I've left," said Noedel, the hospital's director of quality. "If I answer the phone, they ask, 'Why are you at work?'"

      Though it's a tag that makes Noedel bristle, many in the medical field would refer to her as a "noncompliant patient" - a person who ignores aspects of or even shuns doctors' advice.

      Noncompliance is so common that it has become a frequent topic in medical writings and lectures. It's not unusual for people to fail to take prescribed medication, fail to change their diets or fail to follow through on tests that physicians order. Rams coach Mike Martz might be the latest high-profile example.

      "I just assume it's a problem with everybody," said Dr. Mark Mengel, professor and chairman of the Department of Community and Family Medicine at the St. Louis University School of Medicine. "You sort of have to be, nowadays, a good salesman as a doctor because people want to be convinced that what you're telling them is the right thing."

      Martz will be sidelined for weeks due to what is believed to be a bacterial infection of a heart valve. The coach continued to work while battling the illness, believed to be endocarditis. His condition worsened after the Rams game Sunday, and he was hospitalized. He later handed control of the team to Joe Vitt, assistant head coach and linebackers coach.

      Martz told the Post-Dispatch that his doctor said that for at least two weeks, "I can't do anything." The coach said he expected to be sidelined for six weeks in all. Privately, though, he has told Rams President John Shaw he wants to return after two weeks.

      Martz said he plans to do whatever physicians tell him, but in regard to being told he would need to be hospitalized for four to 12 days, he said: "I'm going to negotiate that one. I'm breaking out of here in two days."

      Mengel said there isn't a prototype for a noncompliant patient. But workaholics can be especially challenging.

      "It's pretty problematic for them because their lifestyles are so full," Mengel said. "They have a hard time integrating any health-related (changes) within their lifestyle."

      Dr. Richard Wetzel, a Washington University...
      -10-14-2005, 05:27 AM
    • RamWraith
      Contract or no contract, Martz plans a comeback
      by RamWraith
      Coach expects to overcome heart illness by January

      ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz said he plans to be back next season even if he doesn't get a contract extension.

      Martz's current contract with the Rams expires after the 2006 season.

      "I love this team, this is home for us," Martz told St. Louis radio station KSLG 1380-AM on Tuesday. "I just believe that that stuff will all work out. That's up to my agent; he'll deal with that. I'm not going to entertain or even think about leaving St. Louis. I don't want to be in that situation. To me, that's a worst-case scenario. This is our home, this is where I want to retire, and I pray and hope it works out way.

      "I talked to (Rams owner) Georgia (Frontiere) a week before the season started and she reassured me. The topic came up about an extension, and she said, 'You'll be the head coach as long as you want.'"

      Martz announced Monday that, on the advice of his doctor, he won't return to coaching again this season. He's suffering from endocarditis, a bacterial infection of a heart valve.

      Martz took an indefinite leave of absence from his coaching duties two weeks ago.

      Martz also told KSLG 1380-AM that he was "very, very angry" that he wasn't allowed to contact Rams offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild during the third quarter of the team's 28-17 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

      Martz said Fairchild called him during halftime, but the two men didn't have time to finish their conversation.

      Martz said he wanted to remind Fairchild of a few things he'd seen watching the Saints defense on television at his house, so he sent Dan Linza, the Rams' director of security, to the coach's box at the Edward Jones Dome.

      Linza was denied access to the coach's box by Jay Zygmunt, the Rams' president for football operations.

      "I was very, very angry to say to the least," Martz said. "I don't understand why that happened, what the whole thought process was. And if they have an issue with that, why they didn't tell me ahead of time?"

      Zygmunt took Linza to Rams President John Shaw, who refused to allow Linza to bring a live telephone into the coach's box.

      The fact that Martz and Zygmunt have been feuding for several months added fuel to the conflict.

      Rams management seems to be taking the stance that Martz won't be fired, while Martz seems adamant about not quitting.

      The question is whether Martz and Zygmunt can continue to coexist in the Rams power structure.

      "That's a tough question; that's a personnel question that I am not really prepared to answer," Martz said. "There is a lot of history there. From a business standpoint, yes. From a personal standpoint, I...
      -10-26-2005, 11:46 AM