More than a week after he underwent emergency surgery, Philly radio icon and longtime WIP host Big Daddy Graham is moving out of intensive care and into rehab, but remains paralyzed from the waist down.
“Bye to Jefferson (who were so nice) and on to Magee Rehab,” Graham tweeted late Thursday night.
Graham, 66, underwent surgery July 23, two days after checking into the hospital due to issues with his spinal cord. According to Graham, the surgery was successful, but he’s been left paralyzed from the waist down. Doctors have told him there is hope he will be able to walk again, but the comedian and sports talker faces a long road to recovery.
Despite that, Graham has remained upbeat, both in the hospital and on Twitter, where he’s cracked jokes about his condition when he’s had the strength to pick up his phone.
“Trust me, this is the first text that I’ve ever sent out to a writer where I am not plugging a show,” Graham joked via text message from his hospital bed at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
WIP will continue to use an assortment of fill-in hosts to cover Graham’s overnight radio show, and the comedian has canceled all his August appearances, including a Two Funny Philly Guys show that had been scheduled for Friday in Sea Isle City alongside longtime friend and stage partner Joe Conklin. Stepping in for Graham at his insistence will be comic Jay Black.
“He’s going to be OK. He’s just got a big struggle ahead of him, and he needs our support,” WIP Morning Show host Angelo Cataldi, whose friendship with Graham goes back more than 20 years, told listeners Thursday.
Graham joined WIP in 1997. He’s largely spent the last two decades as the station’s overnight host and became known for the wild stunts he would perform during Wing Bowl. Graham was also a cohost of The Sports Attack alongside Scott Graham and Neil Hartman in the mid-1990s on 1210 AM, which at the time broadcast a largely syndicated all-sports format as WGMP The Game.
But Graham is also a well-known comedian, recording artist, and author, most recently co-writing a revised edition of The Great Book of Philadelphia Sports Lists with fellow WIP host Glen Macnow.
Graham has battled through a number of health problems in recent years — major back surgery, throat cancer, a staph infection, and a 2016 episode in which he was hospitalized after hiccuping for 41 hours straight.
"To quote Arnold Schwarzenegger, ‘I’ll be back,’ " Graham said.