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Baseball Broadcaster Almost Lost His Voice After Hair Restoration Procedure

Joe Buck is a sportscaster most known for calling Major League Baseball games on Fox. At 24, Buck became the youngest man to announce National Football League games on network television. However, at that same young age, worried about losing his hair, he began to receive hair transplants. For more than a decade, he continued receiving hair plugs until a complication related to the operation nearly cost him his voice.

Just before the 2011 baseball season, Joe Buck suffered a paralyzed left vocal cord that kept him from being able to raise his voice and possibly threatened his career. He claimed that the ailment came out of the blue, and was due to a virus in the laryngeal nerve. However, Buck has recently admitted that the viral infection was a lie. The real cause of the paralysis was due to a problem that occurred during one of his hair plug operations.

In his upcoming memoir, Lucky Bastard: My Life, My Dad, And The Things I’m Not Allowed To Say On TV, Buck talks about what he calls an addiction to hair plugs. According to Buck, whenever he had some days off, usually after the end of football season and before the start of baseball, he would fly to New York to have a hair plug operation.

“Broadcasting is a brutal, often unfair business, where looks are valued more than skill,” Buck says in his book. “I was worried that if I lost my hair, I would lose my job. O.K., that’s bulls—. It was vanity. Pure vanity. I just told myself I was doing it for TV.”

His 2011 hair operation was his 8th such procedure. However, when he awoke from the 6-hour-long procedure, something was wrong. Buck could not speak. A doctor said it may have been caused by a cuff that sat on his vocal cord nerves. Buck sought out a specialist at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. There, a doctor told him his vocal cord was paralyzed, and there was a chance his voice would never come back.

Eventually, with continued medical treatment, his voice began to return. Buck says that by the end of the 2011 World Series, he felt like his old voice had returned.

Buck lied about the cause of the paralysis because he was embarrassed about the true cause of the injury. With the exception of his doctor and immediate family, few people knew the truth, even his broadcasting partners were unaware of the real cause of the paralyzed vocal cord. “It’s very cathartic to get this out,” said Buck.

Buck has not returned for hair replacement surgery since his traumatic 2011 operation, though he said he would not rule it out. Instead, if he underwent another procedure, he would not use general anesthetic.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or infection as the result of negligent medical treatment, the Gilman & Bedigian team is fully equipped to handle the complex process of filing a malpractice claim. Our staff, including a physician and attorneys with decades of malpractice litigation experience, will focus on getting you compensated, so you can focus on healing and moving forward.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian
Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm’s litigation practice.  Briggs’ legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 


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