Dick Vitale, ESPN commentator, returns to the booth after cancer fight

Written by D R A S S on CNN

Tennis legend and ESPN commentator Dick Vitale is prepared to return to the college basketball commentary booth this week after battling cancer and a subsequent serious fall, sources familiar with his recovery told CNN affiliate WBNS.

The longtime broadcaster is expected to be in the booth for ESPN’s Monday night College GameDay broadcast for the first time since July 25, when he fractured his hip while climbing a ladder outside his Ohio home, in an accident that left him partially paralyzed.

A year ago, the 74-year-old Vitale underwent surgery after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in his right lung. He said the cancer was in remission, and he was relieved when a second surgery on September 26 revealed it had also been in remission.

Since then, the colorful broadcasting icon has been in critical condition and unable to speak after an automobile accident on October 8 in New Jersey. A crash claimed the life of a school official, who was the passenger in the vehicle with Vitale.

Vitale, who graduated from Notre Dame University, is considered a soccer legend in the United States for his role in representing the US in the 1970 World Cup, and being an expert on the sport on both a national and a global level.

CNN’s Lisa Respers France was in Cincinnati on Monday when Vitale addressed his cancer diagnosis for the first time since then.

“In fact, thank you for taking the time, taking care of me,” Vitale said as he arrived at Anderson Arena to take his seat next to analyst Jay Bilas for the opening of the University of Cincinnati’s first basketball game of the season.

“‘Since you took the time, I have been active. I have been writing, I have been traveling. Just took an Italian vacation last week. Also took an adaption cruise last summer. Am appreciative of all of your concern.”

“I wish you (not to start) that bone marrow donation right now,” Vitale said. “That’s my wish. Please. Tell everybody. Spread the word. Have a bone marrow donor. It’s something that my kids were doing, my wife was doing. It is a very, very simple procedure and an easy procedure. They will come down and make you available.”

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