ESPN college basketball broadcaster Dick Vitale announced Monday that he will no longer call games this season. Vitale was diagnosed with dysplasia on the vocal cords by Dr. Steven Zeitels in December and was ordered to rest. On a follow-up visit, it was decided Vitale needed to rest even longer and he will eventually need surgery.
“Well, today, Dr. Z. delivered the news that even though the rest really helped, I need to give my voice an even longer ‘T.O., baby!’” he said. “And there is no doubt I will soon need surgery to solve my Dysplasia and ulcerated lesions of the vocal cords.”
The beloved broadcaster initially announced he needed to rest in December after his doctor told him he has pre-cancerous Dysplasia on his vocal cords. He would go on to take a break from ESPN but it looks like his break will go on for the entire season.
“So, while I’m heartbroken that I won’t appear on ESPN for the rest of this season, I’m encouraged by the progress,” Vitale said in the release. “In fact, it appears that by resting my voice for the past three weeks, I’ve reduced the inflammation by 60%. Let’s hope the added rest will help it heal some more, and things will look even better when I go for my next follow-up visit on Feb. 16. Once the inflammation heals, we will set a date for surgery.”
It's been an uphill battle for Vitale this past year. In October he announced he was diagnosed with lymphoma. The announcement came just a few months after having multiple surgeries to remove melanoma. Despite the setback, Vitale hasn't lost his optimism for college basketball.
“I will continue to provide updates as I go along, and I am firm in my belief that I will win this battle and be back doing what I love—calling games at courtside next season,” he said. “In the meantime, I will enjoy all the great games from my living room and savor the love of my marvelous family. Thank you all.”
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