Rick Rizzs on dangerous ATV fall, cancer diagnosis: ‘It’s been a heck of a year’

Jul 17, 2023, 3:49 PM | Updated: 3:59 pm

Rick Rizs ATV...

Seattle Mariners broadcaster Rick Rizzs speaks during the Mariners Hall of Fame pregame ceremony for Ichiro Suzuki prior to the game between the Cleveland Guardians and the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on August 27, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Seattle Mariners play-by-play announcer Rick Rizzs suffered multiple injuries following an accident on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) during the MLB All-Star break, forcing him to miss the team’s current 10-game homestand.

“My son and I were up in Blewett Pass the day after the All-Star Game and we were going all over the place. We were at the top of the mountain, taking videos, and just really enjoying our day,” Rizzs said on “The Gee and Ursula Show” on KIRO Newsradio. “But somewhere along the way on the way down, I hit a foot turn and, all of a sudden, I wasn’t in the side-by-side anymore. I came out and hit my head and banged up my neck and back pretty good.”

Doctors confirmed Rizzs broke one vertebra in his neck and two in his back while also fracturing a rib and suffering from a significant gash on his head.

“They got me cleaned up and I went home and then saw spine specialists a couple of days ago,” Rizzs said. “And he took a look at my X-rays and MRI, walked in the room and said ‘Rizzs, you’re a lucky man, the good news is that you don’t need surgery.’ So I’m so grateful I don’t need surgery. I’m just kind of banged up right now.”

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Despite the severity of the accident, Rizzs was able to drive back to the hospital from the top of the mountain.

“I guess I told him outside I can drive it down, so I drove it down,” Rizzs said. “And then he loaded up the side-by-side and the motorcycle on his trailer and he got in his car and we came back, but I don’t remember anything. Nothing. I don’t remember the accident. I don’t remember the ride to the hospital. All I remember is I was having such a good time with Nick.”

Rizzs’ doctors are still determining when the 69-year-old voice of the Mariners should return to the booth, but Rizzs believes he’ll be back after the team’s next road trip — July 31 against the Boston Red Sox — at the latest. This was Rizzs’ 38th season calling Mariners games.

Earlier this year, Rizzs disclosed in an article by The Seattle Times that he was diagnosed with Grade-1 prostate cancer. It was discovered during a routine exam, but the diagnosis found no tumor and he so far does not require chemotherapy or surgery.

“It’s been a heck of a year,” Rizzs said. “Know I got a great personal physician, his name is Dr. Reinier van Coevorden in Issaquah. He arranged the biopsy for me at the end of November, early December, and it came back with Grade-1 prostate cancer, which is the best cancer if you’re going to have cancer. That’s the best you can possibly have. Because at Grade-1, you don’t have to have chemo or radiation or surgery, anything like that. They call it active surveillance.”

Since 1996, Major League Baseball (MLB) has helped the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) raise more than $70 million to accelerate medical breakthroughs. MLB dedicates Father’s Day to prostate cancer awareness — a disease that one in eight men in the U.S. will be diagnosed within their lifetime — through its Home Run Challenge. Each home run hit in all games beginning May 20 through Father’s Day raises money for PCF.

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“If something happens, I’m going to take care of it. I’m going to be just fine. This is not going to get me,” Rizzs said. “I’m stressing that everybody takes this prostate test because it can save your life. So that’s what I’m doing right now. I’m using a platform to talk about that … and ATV safety. Wear a helmet and a seatbelt.”

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here

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