Past alcohol abuse cause of Summerall's illness

DALLAS -- Veteran broadcaster Pat Summerall is scheduled to
undergo a liver transplant after being flown to Jacksonville, Fla.,
by air ambulance Thursday.

The surgery is expected to occur this weekend at the Mayo Clinic
in Jacksonville, The Dallas Morning News reported on its Web site. A spokesman said early Friday that the exact surgery schedule
for Summerall, 73, is uncertain.

Summerall's longtime agent, Sandy Montag, confirmed to The
Associated Press that Summerall, 73, was flying to Florida to have
the transplant.

"It's been a difficult time for the Summerall family," Montag,
said. "But I think the support of family and friends have been
very important to Pat and his family at this time."

Summerall is a recovering alcoholic who was convinced by
friends in 1992 to enter the Betty Ford Treatment Center in
California. His wife, Cheri, told The Dallas Morning News that he
accepted that his past alcohol abuse is the reason he is in the hospital

"Although this month marks his 12th year of sobriety,
alcoholism is a progressive disease, and the damage to his liver
reached the point where a transplant is the only option for
survival," she said.

Summerall, who was a kicker and tight end for the Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants for 10 seasons before becoming a
broadcaster, has spent more than 40 years in the booth, beginning in 1961. He teamed with
John Madden to call Fox's lead game from 1994-01, and they were the
No. 1 team on CBS for 13 seasons before that. The two called eight
Super Bowls together, and Summerall was in the broadcast booth for a total of 15.

The Morning News reported that Summerall, who lives in
Southlake, had been hospitalized this week at Methodist Medical
Center in Dallas to undergo tests and wait for a possible
transplant surgery there. But a donor was then found in Florida,
the newspaper reported.

The newspaper said Summerall qualified for a transplant through
blood tests that rank potential recipients anonymously through a
computerized system known as the MELD Model.

Summerall told the newspaper that he had recently undergone
tests at the Mayo Clinic in Florida that confirmed he needed the

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.