Buddy Valastro opens about his tough recovery and what it could mean for his baking career after a major injury to his hand during a bowling accident.
Buddy Valastro, 43, says he may never recover enough strength in his injured fingers to make his beloved confections again. The Cake Boss star, who nearly lost his hand after it got stuck in a bowling alley pin setting machine, told ET that he’s taking his recovery one day — and one cake — at a time.
“Well, I’m feeling good, you know, I feel like I’m in good spirits trying to look at the glass half full versus half empty,” he shared with the news outlet. “I’m, you know, just trying to recover and get all my strength back and see exactly what the full extent of everything is gonna wind up being, you know, because it’s still a little unforeseen. But the positives, I still have my hand right. I could’ve lost fingers and could’ve went through my wrist and been a lot worse. So, I’m taking it day by day and cake by cake.”
“Right now, realistically, you know, the scars have healed up,” he continued. “It’s very, very stiff. I don’t really have as much motion, as much strength, dexterity … So, it’s really just a matter of continuing to do rehab. I’d say I’m probably at, like, 10 or 15 percent of the strength that I used to have. … It’s just really gonna be a matter of time to see exactly what comes back with the nerve too. … And a lot of, like, nerve damage, so my fingers are kinda numb in the middle, you know? They’ll always feel numb and stiff … and we’ll see what happens.”
Buddy revealed that he’s already undergone three surgeries and may need two or three more. It all depends on how his physical therapy and healing goes over the next year, but he acknowledged that he may never be able to make his famous cakes again.
“Honestly, I don’t know how much I’m going to be able to do,” he shared. “I can assure you and everybody — again, whether I have to do a left-handed, a thirty percent — I’m going to try to do it with all of my heart. I just don’t know, you know, I might be like a boxer who’s got the heart but ain’t got the tools anymore and hope to God that that’s not the case and only time will tell.”
“It’s a reality of what it is,” he continued. “Look, I’m not the kind of guy — even though I don’t make every single thing with my own two hands, I still put a lot of my own touch on things, right? — and the fact is, if I can, if I can’t, I don’t want to be the coach, right? And just saying, ‘Guys, do this, do this, do this,’ I could do that. [But] I want to be the guy when it’s fourth and goal to say, ‘Give me the ball and run in for the touchdown.’ I’m not ready to be on the sidelines yet, so I don’t know what the transition is going to be or what capacity things are, you know, going to end in.”
The horrible accident happened when Buddy was trying to fix a pinsetter in the bowling alley inside of his family’s home. “There was a malfunction with the bowling pinsetter, a common fix in the past, but turned into a terrible accident,” his rep previously told PEOPLE. “After trying to release the bowling pin from the cage mechanism, his right hand became lodged and compressed inside the unit. Unable to remove his hand, he can see a 1-1/2″ metal rod slowly and repeatedly impale his hand three times between his ring finger and middle finger.”
Buddy revealed during his interview with Entertainment Tonight that he has gone back to the bowling alley in his home since the accident. “I actually went for the first time with the camera crew last week, and it was pretty intense,” he said. “It was emotional, I would say.”
Although it’s still uncertain if he’ll ever be able to compete on camera again, Buddy told ET that he hasn’t given up hope. “It’s hard to say right now, I will do everything in my power,” he shared. “I am not throwing in the towel yet and we are trying to film now but not competing yet, just really trying to get my training and my level up, but you could take it from me, I am going to do everything in my power — whether I got to do it left-handed, whether I got to do it with 30 to 40 percent of what I got — I will give everything I got no matter what.”