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Deadliest Catch exclusive: Wizard Captain Keith Colburn’s shock health news floors his crew

Captain Keith Colburn
Keith Colburn delivers the bad news about his health on Deadliest Catch

On tonight’s Deadliest Catch, one of the cast’s oldest and most storied captains, Keith Colburn, reveals a shocking bit of news to his crew after calling an all-hands-on deck meeting.

Even his brother Monty Colburn has no idea what Keith is about to say. Keith tells him to get the guys together as he has something important to tell them all. Keith says: “Let’s get this show on the road, but first there’s something I gotta tell you and the guys…”

Looking tired and wearing his glasses, Wizard captain Keith Colburn tells his crew that he will not be heading to the Bering Sea for fishing after he was diagnosed with osteomyelitis in his back.

His floored crew asks Keith: “In regular terminology, that is?”

Keith puts a fine point on it: “[That] my back is all f***ed up.”

The Wizard crew are in shock at Keith’s medical news

What is osteomyelitis?

The condition Keith is suffering from is vertebral osteomyelitis. Also referred to as spinal osteomyelitis or spondylodiskitis, it is a disk-space infection and inflammation of the bone and bone marrow that can become fatal if not treated.

It is a rare bone infection, so rare that only 2-4 per cent of all bone infections are attributed to the disease. The infection can happen to people across a wide range of ages, mostly in young children and older adults.

Normally it attacks two vertebrae and the corresponding intervertebral disk and the prognosis relies on where the infection is concentrated in the spine, and the time between the onset and medical treatment.

In Keith’s case, the acute osteomyelitis may be treated without surgery. This is a bacterial spinal infection that can be addressed with IV antibiotics either in a hospital or at an outpatient facility to continue at home with rest for four to six weeks.

Captaining a ship in the roiling Bering Sea will not do Keith’s back any good. Oral antibiotics may need to be taken for several months. Likely Keith will need painkillers and possibly spinal bracing to mitigate pain and give his back support.

But seeing the disappointment and the worry on his crew’s faces, Keith quickly adds: “I’m not going fishing, I’m not going…well, I’m hoping to go for opies [crab]…but I’m definitely not going for this Bering run.”

Fans can rest assured that Keith’s medical treatment helps him recover, as he posts frequently on twitter and shared an awesome picture of him and his dad for the Memorial Day holiday.

Captain Keith also expressed his condolences to the fallen Captain Blake Painter who was found dead on Friday, May 25.

For medical reasons and to preserve his back, Keith must step away from his boat to recover.

To really bring home how bad his back is, Keith tells the crew: “Two of my vertebrae literally looks like somebody poured battery acid on them!”

Deadliest Catch airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Discovery.


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