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Joe Buck opens up about hair plug addiction, which almost ruined his career

World Series - St Louis Cardinals v Boston Red Sox - Game One Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

You may recall that, in February 2011, Fox Sports announcer Joe Buck lost his voice, which at the time, he said was caused by a virus that affected the nerves of his left vocal cord. In a story from Sports Illustrated, and as part of Buck’s upcoming memoir, he reveals the virus was a lie: He actually lost his voice because of complications from a hair replacement procedure. It was his eighth procedure, which stemmed from a longtime hair plug addiction he’s had for over 20 years, and it was so severe, he almost lost his career.

He was still able to call baseball games in April of that year, and got much better around August. He also credited his “strong relationship with his bosses” at Fox Sports for allowing him to work instead of being replaced. Understandably, he was too embarrassed to tell his colleagues the truth, both about what happened and his addiction.

But he felt writing his memoir was his opportunity to be honest about his incident:

“I was lying,” Buck said of the stories about his vocal cord issues. “I think people bend the truth all the time, unfortunately. It was really for self-preservation and ego for me. As I look back, I gave partial truths. Where I lied was when I said the reason why. People would ask, ‘Why is your vocal cord paralyzed?’ I said it was a virus. I didn’t say it was an elective procedure to add hair to the front of my head. It was embarrassing. There’s an embarrassing element to that. Any surgery done to improve one’s looks is not really something someone wants to talk about. So it’s very cathartic to get this out. There are a lot of people across the country, for as silly as this sounds, who obsess about hair loss. I would tell myself I needed to look younger, I needed to have thicker hair, I don’t want to look older than I am. The truth of it is that it was an ego thing, whether I was on TV or not.”

You can read more on Sports Illustrated’s website, where Buck opens up about the stress he experienced, and how he recovered from losing his voice.