One of ESPN’s oldest and most recognizable voices will be off the air for the rest of the year. Dick Vitale, who has called college basketball games on ESPN for the past 40 years, announced that he will not return to the cockpit this season as he recovers from dysplasia and ulcerated vocal cord injuries.
Vitale did ad on ESPN Front Row, saying that after meeting with a throat specialist, he will need surgery, which will occur at a later date. The 82-year-old said his prognosis is good and he’s encouraged by the progress.
“While I am heartbroken not to appear on ESPN for the remainder of this season, I am encouraged by the progress,” he said. “In fact, it seems that by resting my voice for the past three weeks, I’ve reduced the swelling by 60 percent. Hopefully the extra rest will help it heal a little more, and things will look even better when I go get my next follow-up”.
Vitale made an emotional return to the stand in November, a month after announcing that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma on October 18.
He had previously been diagnosed with melanoma over the summer, but was said to be cancer-free.
“You know I’m an eternal optimist who acts like a teenager. However, there is no question that these past five months have been emotionally and physically frustrating,” Vitale said. “I am so grateful for the love and care shown by the amazing members of the medical community.
“I will be forever grateful for the calls, texts and expressions of encouragement on social media from friends, colleagues, fans, media and members of my ESPN family. I love the people and am honored to receive such support.” overwhelming”.
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The former Pistons and Detroit Mercy head coach also made it clear that these throat problems were separate from his cancer diagnoses and the treatment he has been receiving.
He called ESPN’s first college basketball game on December 5, 1979 and has been on ESPN ever since. He called several high-profile games this season, including a matchup of then-No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 UCLA on Nov. 23 and a surprise upset by Dayton over then-No. 4 Kansas three days later.