ESPN radio sportscaster Steve Haywood back on the airwaves

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- As a local radio sportscaster, Steve Haywood has seen some of the greatest comebacks in Wisconsin sports history. Recently, he made a comeback from serious health problems -- and he'll never be the same.

Want a knowledgable opinion on any Wisconsin sports team or athlete? Ask Steve Haywood. The 46-year-old Milwaukee native is passionate and doesn't pull any punches, whether he's sounding off on 540 ESPN Milwaukee radio or on the streets of the city he loves.

Haywood has plenty to say these days, because he hasn't been on the radio in nearly a year because of a host of ongoing medical issues.

"Cardiomyopathy which is an enlargement of the heart. I have a pacemaker, diabetes, gastroparesis, kidney failure and then obviously I have an amputation of my left leg," Haywood said.

Through it all, Haywood has managed to keep his trademark sense of humor.

"I've still got all my teeth -- so I'm pretty good!" Haywood said.

As he says,"If you don't laugh, you'll cry." Understandably, there have been tears along the way.

"When I woke up and the first vision I saw was my son, standing over me, and I was still alive, I said to myself 'well, either I'm too ornery to die, or you've got bigger plans for me.' So whatever those bigger plans are, I can't be selfish and worry about me. It's how can I serve God?" Haywood said.

Haywood has many gifts, and one of his greatest is his ability to stare down adversity and keep a positive attitude.

Haywood's ordeal has changed him in some ways.

"The next time you walk by somebody in a wheelchair, you know, it takes a second to ask 'are you okay?' We tend to sometimes just walk right by them and not pay attention -- but they are not forgotten people. They are people that you need to love and respect," Haywood said.

He's the first to say he wouldn't have made his almost miraculous comeback without his faith, his family and his friends.

With a new lease on life, Haywood wants to take advantage of every second to make a difference. His message for those who are hurting:

"You can lose money, you can lose health, you can lose time, you can lose faith, you can lose courage -- you can lose a lot of things -- but two things that you can pass along if someone is willing to give them to you (and they're true blessings) is unconditional love and knowledge," Haywood said.

Haywood was eager to give a "shout-out" to all his medical care providers at St. Luke's Hospital and Colonial Manor for getting him back in the game.

Steve Haywood is the host of “That Being Said,” which airs weeknights at 6 p.m. on Milwaukee’s ESPN Radio 1510 Days / 1290 Nights. A lifelong Milwaukee resident, Steve has been working on the radio since 1996 and also is executive producer of Sports Perspectives on MATA Community Media.

After graduating from Milwaukee Tech High School in 1985, Haywood attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he graduated in 1991.

He has covered a number of major events, including the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 2002 and the NBA All-Star Game in 2003.