It’s been a tough few years on the health front for long-time Alabama Crimson Tide radio announcer Eli Gold. In 2020, Gold saw his since-1988 streak of calling 409 consecutive Alabama football games snapped after he contracted COVID-19. (That came after he kept broadcasting despite two separate shoulder surgeries that year following a car accident.) Last August, he announced he’d miss the 2022 season while dealing with unspecified health issues, which he updated in September to having to lose weight and having to relearn how to walk. Then in December, he received a cancer diagnosis, and he’s battled through chemotherapy since then and lost a total of 148 pounds, while spending 186 days in hospitals over the past year. But while discussing those health struggles on Mobile’s WNSP radio station Thursday, the 69-year-old Gold said his final chemotherapy session is scheduled for next Friday, and he’s optimistic he can return to the booth this fall:
Legendary Crimson Tide broadcaster Eli Gold hopped on The Opening Kickoff to give an update on his health and whether or not he will be back in the booth this season:https://t.co/Ylg4tJl9uw
— 105.5 WNSP (@1055wnsp) April 13, 2023
Here’s Gold’s full interview on that, from WNSP’s site:
And some selected quotes, via Mike Rodak of AL.com:
“My legs stopped working way back over a year ago,” he said. “I woke up one morning, and my legs wouldn’t work. I mean, I went to bed — I was walking, I walk into the bedroom. I wake up the next morning, my legs don’t work.”
That led to Gold visiting hospitals in search of a diagnosis, but doctors could not provide one.
…“This is not a shot at anybody at UAB or anybody else,” Gold told WNSP. “It’s just the fact of what it was. They just could not figure out what the deal was. They’d give me steroids to deal with one thing, and well, the steroids was masking something else. It was one of those things where they would say we’ve got to send you home. I would say, we’re not going home without a diagnosis.”
…“I just had no interest in eating,” he said. “I couldn’t keep anything down. I was sick. The doctors told Claudette, my wife — they told her a couple of times that I might not make it through the night. So I was a very sick boy. Turns out, that I have gotten better. But there’s still work to be done.”
The cancer diagnosis eventually came in December when Gold had a persistent case of the hiccups and couldn’t catch his breath. And after that, it’s been an upward trend for him, but a tough one with the chemo. He’s regained some ability to walk, but is best with a walker. And he won’t be able to call Alabama’s spring game this weekend the way he’d initially hoped. But he is optimistic on returning this fall, and that’s good news for Crimson Tide fans who have long enjoyed his calls. Our thoughts go out to Gold and his family as he navigates the healing process.