In the upcoming TLC special “Buddy Valastro: Road to Recovery,” the Hoboken baker, who is currently on the mend, revisits the traumatic event that took place at a bowling alley in his home. The special includes home security footage from that day, when his hand became lodged in a bowling pinsetter.
Of course, Valastro, 43, has often invited cameras into his space at work as the star of the reality series “Cake Boss,” which premiered on TLC in 2009. The show features his family and employees at Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, where Valastro bakes and decorates elaborate cakes with different themes. The series made a major reality TV star out of Valastro and made Carlo’s a tourist destination, allowing Valastro to start a chain of bakeries and open eateries across the country.
After the accident, Valastro had to undergo several surgeries to repair his right hand.
“My hands are everything to me,” Valastro says in a preview of the special. “And realistically I built this whole thing with these two hands. Without my hands, in the decorating world, I’m nothing.”
Valastro, who grew up in Hoboken and Little Ferry and lives in Montville, takes it slow as he attempts to pipe decoration onto a cake following his surgery.
In the special, Joey Faugno, Valastro’s brother-in-law, who is known to viewers of “Cake Boss” for his work at the bakery, recalls what he saw at Valastro’s home on Sept. 20.
Faugno, who says he’s a licensed EMT and firefighter, talks about how he went to Valastro’s house and heard his sister-in-law and Buddy’s wife, Lisa, screaming for help and to call 911.
“It looked like his hand was pinned in the back of the bowling machine and I saw it was through his hand,” Faugno says in another teaser for the special.
“Buddy was spending some quality time on Sunday bowling with his family,” Nikki Monan, spokeswoman for Carlo’s Bakery, told NJ Advance Media in September. “There was a malfunction with the bowling pinsetter, a common fix in the past, but (it) turned into a terrible accident. After trying to release the bowling pin from the cage mechanism, his right hand became lodged and compressed inside the unit.”
She said Valastro watched a metal rod “slowly and repeatedly impale his hand three times between his ring finger and middle finger. “
Valastro’s son Buddy Valastro Jr., 16, said the family wanted to extricate Valastro from the equipment, but the machine could start hammering his hand more if he moved. They used a saw to cut the machine and free Valastro, but his hand still had a piece of metal going straight through it. Valastro’s family rushed him to the hospital.
He underwent surgery at Morristown Medical Center to remove the rod from his hand and stabilize the wound, then had more surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.
“He will need prolonged recovery and therapy,” Monan said at the time.
When Buddy returns home in the special, Lisa Valastro tells the family that he broke his thumb and damaged his tendon and nerves. She holds up the sizable metal piece that had punctured his hand, causing some to gasp.
“I’m so mad at myself,” Buddy tells his son. “My hand is everything to me.”
“Buddy Valastro: Road to Recovery” airs 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT Wednesday, Dec. 23 on TLC.
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