Enlarge Photo credit: Frank Schwichtenberg via Wikimedia Commons

Don Dokken’s Hands are Partially Paralyzed After Spinal Surgery


A distressing report making the rounds this past weekend revealed that Dokken founder and vocalist Don Dokken was facing permanent paralysis in his hands following spinal surgery. But an update from the Dokken camp is much more positive, indicating Don is on the mend and expects to fully recover.

The original revelation took place in an interview Dokken conducted with The Classic Metal Show last month. The understandably frustrated singer explained that two-and-a-half months after undergoing spinal surgery he barely had any feeling in his hands, was completely unable to play guitar, and even needed assistance with most basic functions, including getting dressed, eating and going to the bathroom:

“It’s been two and a half months since I had spine surgery, and my hands are dead. They don’t move. It’s very strange.

“It’s an interesting way to live your life. You’ve gotta learn how to feed yourself, wipe your butt, brush your teeth, dress yourself. [It takes] 20 minutes to put socks on, ’cause one of my hands works a little bit, but not very much.

“I’m hoping — I’m trying to stay positive — that maybe some miracle will happen and slowly the nerves will reconnect and my hands will start working again,” he continued. “Or you’re gonna hear about me in the newspaper, ’cause I’m gonna go to the [surgeon’s] office and I’m gonna go over to the desk and I’m gonna pummel his face. And I’m serious. That guy fucked up. He was supposed to be the best of the best.

“After they put me under, I said two things: ‘Don’t kill me. ‘Don’t paralyze me.’ That’s what I said. I swear to God. And he’s, like, ‘That’s why you came to me. I’m the best.’ So I wake up in the hospital, and I’m, like, ‘How come my hands don’t move?’ ‘How come my fingers don’t move?’ ‘How come my hands are on fire?’ ‘How come I can barely walk? I’m on a walker. What the fuck did you do, man?’ And he goes, ‘Well, it happens sometimes.’ I love it when surgeons go, ‘Well, shit happens. It only happens in one of a thousand surgeries.’ So I’m Mr. One Thousand, apparently. So, I’m not happy about it.”

Later in the interview Dokken spoke at length about arrangements he was making to honor his upcoming touring commitments in March (including a reunion with guitarist George Lynch), indicating that his voice was still in good shape and that he’d be bringing along a personal assistant to “basically babysit” him.

Shortly after the story broke wide over the weekend despite first being published a month ago, Dokken’s camp took to social media to indicate his condition has since improved, and that doctors are optimistic for a full recovery:

“Earlier today a series of interviews were put out on music news websites regarding Don’s health and use of his hands… That interview came out in early January 2020.
Don had neck and spinal surgery in early November 2019. There were some complications; Don’s right arm and hand were partially paralyzed as well as overall weakness in his body.

“Since that interview in January, Don is doing much better and his doctors do expect him to fully recover but it will take time. He does continue to have difficulty holding items and at this time is unable to play guitar, this does not affect his voice. That being said, there are no changes at this time to the upcoming show schedule.

“Don has been actively writing new music, is in great spirits, looks forward to the upcoming Dokken shows and greatly appreciates the outpouring of support.

“You can expect more great Dokken music and shows this year, just don’t expect somersaults!”

Needless to say, we’re very relieved to hear Dokken is expected to make a full recovery. Wishing him all the best in the meantime.

Upcoming Dokken live dates:

Mar 6 Biloxi, MS – Dokken / Lynch Reunion [tickets]
Mar 7 El Paso, TX – Speaking Rock Entertainment Center [tickets]
Mar 8 Midland, TX – Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center [tickets]
Mar 28 St Charles, IL – Arcada Theatre [tickets]
Apr 25 Mesa, AZ – Mesa Amphitheatre [tickets]
May 30 Las Vegas, NV – Fremont Street Experience [tickets]
Jun 6 Sunbury, PA – Spyglass Ridge Winery [tickets]
Jun 7 Maryland Heights, MO – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre [tickets]
Jun 7 Maryland Heights, MO – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre [tickets]
Aug 21 West Hollywood, CA – Whisky-a-gogo [tickets]
Aug 22 West Hollywood, CA – Whisky-a-gogo [tickets]
Sep 19 San Antonio, TX – Sunken Garden Theater [tickets]

[via Loudwire]

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