AJ Jakubec is back on air with TSN 1200 after a long medical journey.

Wednesday saw AJ Jakubec back on the air at TSN 1200 in Ottawa for the first time since he called an Ottawa 67’s game there on December 1, 2019. In between, he had a wild medical journey; he was in what he describes as the worst pain of his life on Dec. 2, called 911, and wound up being rushed to the hospital, intubated, and put in intensive care for what was later determined to be pancreatitis.

Jacubec was in the ICU for a week, then transferred to the hospital’s general campus. But he wasn’t able to leave the hospital at all until Dec. 25, and even that was only for a day. And even after he was discharged on Jan. 3, he wound up having to go back for several endoscopic procedures, one of which led to an infection and a rehospitalization. He wound up being discharged for good on Feb. 27, but still has some further medical tests and procedures ahead this summer. But Wednesday saw him return to his usual spot on the TSN 1200 morning show, and he was pretty excited about that.

Here’s the audio of Jakubec discussing his battle with pancreatitis and his recovery:

Jakubec (who’s known for his work calling the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks as well as the 67’s) spoke with TSN 1200’s Ian Mendes earlier this week for an article about his medical battle, all the support he received, and what that meant to him. Here are some key quotes from that:

For several days in December, the veteran broadcaster was motionless, unable to communicate and intubated inside the ICU of the General Campus of the Ottawa Hospital. 

His family allowed a co-worker to come into his private ICU room inside the hospital – a space generally reserved for immediate family members only. That special privilege was granted to Jeff Avery – Jakubec’s broadcast partner in the radio booth for Ottawa Redblacks games on TSN 1200.

“I was shocked to see him lying there, comatose. Tubes in and out. That hit home with how serious it was for him. When you see it first-hand, it was just shocking,” recalls Avery. “Seeing him in that condition, you’re thinking of his life – not whether he would broadcast again. You just want to see him live.”

…“I always felt like I was going to be back, but I bet there was a lot of times where other people didn’t think that,” says the 45-year-old Jakubec.

Well, Jakubec is back on the air now, and that’s great to see. And while there are still some medical tests and procedures ahead for him, hopefully he’s through the worst of it. But his story also includes coworkers and the entire Ottawa sports community rallying around him, and it illustrates what that kind of support can mean for those battling medical issues. As he told Mendes, he was fortunate that his hospital stays (which saw more than 80 different people come to visit him) took place before COVID-19 lockdowns kicked in:

“I can’t imagine not having that support coming in on a regular basis. I feel for anybody who’s been in hospital since mid-March.”

Here’s some of Jakubec’s discussion of that support Twitter Tuesday and Wednesday, including with Mendes, with San Jose Sharks’ forward Logan Couture (a former 67s player), with Redblacks’ GM Marcel Desjardins and Ottawa Gee-Gees men’s hockey head coach Patrick Grandmaître (who’s also battled pancreatitis)

It’s great to see that Jakubec got that kind of support, and that it helped him through a difficult time. And hopefully that can be an encouragement to others in sports to do whatever they can for those facing tough medical battles. As Jakubec’s story shows, that support can make a big difference.

[CTV News Ottawa; photo from Jakubec on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously worked at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.