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The Health Crisis Deadliest Catch's Wild Bill Faced That Could Have Ended His Career

"Wild" Bill Wichrowski may not have joined the lineup of captains on Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch" until Season 6, but his time on the water — and his rather fierce leadership skills — go way back.

After serving four years in the Navy, Wichrowski could be found king crab fishing in the Bering Sea by the 1980s, according to his official biography. Over the next two decades, he climbed the ranks from greenhorn to captain. While still a newbie, his future tough-love style of captaining was ingrained in him. Upon cursing out the deck boss, Wichrowski was punched so hard that his head slammed into the boat. It was at this moment that he learned to respect the hierarchy, something he'd go on to instill in the crew of the F/V Summer Bay.

On "Deadliest Catch," fans get to witness some unforgettable moments surrounding Wichrowski. Whether he's threatening a deckhand who doesn't want to pitch in, or cranking up the heat to chase out the U.S. Coast Guard, he's certainly a force to be reckoned with on the Bering Sea.

However, even the strongest and toughest individuals must endure the trials and tribulations of the human body. For Wichrowski, one such moment almost cost him his beloved fishing career. Let's take a look at the health crisis that nearly sent Wichrowski into an early retirement.

Wild Bill's activities after hip surgery almost left him bed-bound

Captain "Wild" Bill Wichrowski underwent hip surgery in February 2018, as reported by Pop Culture, but his post-op activities almost kept him down for the count. 

Directly after his surgery, Wichrowski was up and about on his crutches having dinner with friends. But several busy days later, he found himself struggling to walk. "I misunderstood the doctor – probably a little inebriated — but I thought he said the more you do, the quicker it will heal," he said. However, this was far from the case. Wichrowski was informed by his doctor that, if he had accidentally fallen, the chances of him going anywhere for a few years — let alone the Bering Sea — would've been bleak.

Wichrowski rested for the next three weeks and, eventually, celebrated a full recovery and returned to the F/V Summer Bay. "I'm a lot more active and it's gonna be fun 'cause I'll probably spend a little more time on deck this year, be out with the guys and maybe let [deck boss Nick McGlashan] drive and put a little time at the helm," he said.

"Deadliest Catch" fans stuck by Wichrowski throughout this difficult journey, which he chronicled on his Facebook page. Many were thrilled to see his post on March 24, 2018, which shows their favorite white-haired captain enjoying the outdoors, binoculars and a bottle of rum in hand. Follower Brandy L. Willis commented, "Sorry to hear about your surgery, good to see you are back on your feet and enjoying some sunshine and a good rum. Take care and keep smiling."