WOOD sports director Jack Doles is back on the air after a two-month recovery from spinal surgery left him unable to be in front of the camera.
“It’s the longest I’ve ever not worked,” Doles told The Grand Rapids Press. “I’ve had jobs since eighth grade, either jobs or school or both, and this was the longest I’ve ever had nothing to do.”
Doles, who has covered sports for WOOD for 21 years, suffered from an abnormal narrowing of his spinal column. Most people have between 14.5 and 18.5 inches of room in their spine — Doles, who underwent three hours of corrective surgery, had just four. He returned to the Grand Rapids NBC affiliate last week, but he is still relegated to a neck brace, which he removes just moments before going on air.
Doles is also not allowed to lift anything over 10 pounds — like the camera he takes with him to shoot local sports games — or play golf until his recovery is more advanced. “You just have to take it easy,” he said. “That, for me, is harder than rehab.”