Famous Sports Broadcaster Almost Ended His Career Due To Hair-Plug Addiction

[Michael Buckner/Getty Images for The Hawn Foundation]

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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One of the go-to announcers in professional sports almost ended his broadcasting career due to a hair-plug addiction.

After his eighth hair replacement procedure that took more than six-hours, Joe Buck suffered a paralyzed left vocal cord, according to Sports Illustrated. A doctor told Buck that a protective cuff used in the 2011 surgery probably shifted and pinched a nerve. Buck reveals the details in his upcoming memoir, “Lucky Bastard: My Life, My Dad, And The Things I’m Not Allowed To Say On TV.”

Buck was extremely embarrassed that the body part he needs the most for his occupation was harmed. He reportedly lied to his bosses, as well as to his friends and the media, by telling them that it was merely a virus that would eventually dissipate.

“Broadcasting is a brutal, often unfair business, where looks are valued more than skill,” Buck writes. “I was worried that if I lost my hair, I would lose my job.” But even Buck admitted this probably wasn’t the case. Especially since there are examples of broadcasters and sports analysts who have gone from full mane to receding hairlines or baldness.

“O.K., that’s bulls—-. It was vanity. Pure vanity. I just told myself I was doing it for TV,” he said candidly.

Since Buck broadcasts for both Major League Baseball and the National Football League, he would try to find gaps in his busy schedule to travel to New York to undergo hair plug operations.

“I was too scared and embarrassed to tell them the truth. But I’m doing it now,” Buck writes in the book, according to Sports Illustrated.

“I was lying. I think people bend the truth all the time, unfortunately,” he continued. “It was really for self-preservation and ego for me.”

After several visits to doctors, he ended up going to a specialist in Boston named Steven Zeiteils, who is a professor of laryngeal surgery at Harvard Medical School. Zeiteils has worked with other famous people who need voices for their profession, like Dick Vitale, Adele and Bono.

Buck told Sports Illustrated that although he thought about undergoing surgery again, he has not done so since 2011.

He seems to have grown from the unfortunate situation.

“I am an extremely lucky and blessed person, but I’m pretty self-aware,” Buck said. “I’m a flawed, hard-working, hard-trying person. I didn’t write this book to change anyone else’s life. I wrote this book to be as open and as honest as I can be. If there is any mission statement, I wrote it to give viewers and people who think they know me a better and clearer picture of who I really am. If you read it, great. If not, that’s great, too. But I am just glad that it’s out there.”

Perhaps Buck could have taken a tip from long-time TV host Matt Lauer, who revealed around a month ago that cutting off his hair was “freeing.”

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