Sports Animal host Al Eschbach happy to have eyesight back

by Mel Bracht Published: June 26, 2009
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After seven eye surgeries in the past year, Sports Animal Radio Network afternoon personality Al Eschbach is glad his eyesight is getting better, allowing him to drive again and jet off to his favorite travel destinations.

His vacation trips, just before football season, have become a summer staple and interesting fodder for his afternoon talk show.

"Since 1976, I have flown over the ocean every year," said Eschbach, 64, who estimated he has been to more than 50 countries.

His sons also are glad he's regaining his sight. Alex, 24, and Max, 22, have been chauffeuring him to remotes for his talk show. They even have read him The Oklahoman sports section and kept him updated on the time when his eyes were too blurry to read as he recovered from surgery.

Al Eschbach said his ex-wife, DaOnne, whom he had been married to 28 years, has helped him keep a positive outlook in dealing with the horrible luck of having detached retinas in both eyes. He said he has been legally blind in his right eye since November.

"After the last surgery, I was like banging into walls," Eschbach said. "It was really difficult. She said something very meaningful to me, 'Instead of whining about the thing, be an inspiration with your situation.' "

The dean of Oklahoma sports talk with 33 years on the radio, Eschbach said he has missed only about 10 days of work due to the eye surgeries. WWLS/The Sports Animal (FM 98.1 and AM 640) installed audio equipment in his Norman home, allowing him to do his show from his house, including bidding farewell to callers with his signature "See ya!"


by Mel Bracht
Copy Editor, Sports Media
Mel Bracht is a copy editor on the presentation desk and also covers sports media. A 1978 graduate of Indiana University, Bracht has been a print journalist for 34 years. He started his career as sports editor of the Rensselaer (Ind.) Republican...
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Al Eschbach rates his top five travel destinations:

Tahiti. It's so beautiful, it makes Hawaii look like Detroit.

Bali (Indonesia). I've always had a fascination with it from the movies. It's just another beautiful place that has incredible fruit.

Phuket (Thailand). It's just incredibly beautiful. Best seafood I've had in my life at a really good price.

Costa Rica. Been going there for years. Nice people and also beautiful.

Munich. Best beer in the world. That's where I first had beer with radishes.

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