The Challenge has instilled the fear of death into many of its competitors. Usually, it’s just part of the competition and the games are safe. Then there are the times when things go wrong and competitors end up in a compromising situation. There have been multiple times over the years when viewers were actually worried about the welfare of competitors.
These competitors had some near-death experiences on camera and viewers wondered whether or not they’d survive the trauma of The Challenge. To date, no one has actually died on the show, but some people have sustained real injuries. I know saying someone “could have died” seems dramatic, but I think it holds true in mot of these situations. Here are some of the moments when viewers thought we might actually have a dead competitor on our hands.
NOTE: All incidents must be a direct result of a competition. Outside injuries and sicknesses will not make the list. I made a really old list of injuries on The Challenge that may contain some of these injuries.
10. Ashley- Rivals 3
Height over water continue to prove themselves to be dangerous. Add ropes into the mix and you have a recipe for disaster. During the Out on a Limb challenge Ashley fell during the final jump. As she fell into the water she got caught in one of the ropes. While she ended up just getting a really nasty rope burn, for a split second it looked like she could have gotten caught in the rope. Fall into a rope the wrong way and your body could get wrecked. Fortunately, the doctor’s orders were just a shot of tequila and some ointment.
9. Paulie- War of the Worlds 2
We’ve gotten to a point where the final is guaranteed to push competitors to exhaustion and collapses are normal. On War of the Worlds 2, Paulie collapsed during day one of the final. He continued, and the real fear came during the overnight portion. While standing and doing nothing he began to vomit, a clear indication of a body in turmoil. He went on to complete the final, but he looked a bit disoriented after day one.
8. Camila- Invasion of the Champions
This is easily the dumbest entry on the list, but many people were wondering WTF Camila was doing during the Fallout challenge. Competitors needed to hang onto a rope on a pivoting platform and the last Champion girl remaining would win immunity from the Fortress. Camila decided to wrap her body in the rope, and as the platform began to pivot it became clear her neck was wrapped in the rope. She survived and shrugged it off, but it look like we could have had a decapitated Brazilian on our hands.
7. Coral- The Gauntlet
One of the most infamous incidents from the early Challenge days, Coral’s collapse during The Gauntlet final was scary and frustrating at the same time. While many competitors struggled during this final, Coral fell to the ground and physically couldn’t breathe. Come to find out she had an allergic reaction to a spider bite, and knowing that, her team allowed her to continue way longer than she should have.
6. Leroy- Vendettas
It shouldn’t be a surprise that someone got hurt during a challenge called Car Crash, but someone did! In a competition where people needed to jump across a series of cars suspended over water Leroy hit the car hard and fell into the water. Instead of swimming to shore he just floated there. Medics came and took him to the hospital over night where he was able to return to the game, but the fall looked pretty serious and knocked the wind out of him.
5. Chet- Cutthroat
Heights over water has always been fear-inducing for Challengers, and Chet’s fall during Surf’s Up legitimized those concerns. He fell off the surf board and hit the water hard. He completed the swim faster than a lot of other competitors but then turned a ghostly shade of white. He was taken to the hospital for a concussion, and turns out The Challenge takes this stuff seriously because Chet had to be sent home for his own safety.
4. Jordan- Dirty Thirty
Skydiving had appeared on multiple seasons prior to this, and it had never been much more than an anxiety-inducer. On the Dirty Thirty final Jordan’s parachute failed to deploy properly and he landed far away from anticipated location. This confirmed everyone’s fear of skydiving, and viewers thought Jordan could have been seriously hurt. In the end his leg was injured, but not enough to stop him from winning the final.
3. Eric- The Gauntlet 3
Eric isn’t the only person to appear on this list who struggled in the final, but he does stand out as the most detrimental loss in the final. His medical eviction cost the Veterans their win, so his teammates tried to force him to continue. Brad would later talk about how he saw Eric’s eyes roll back and became legitimately concerned for his health. In the end he was fine, but in the moment it looked very serious.
2. Veronica- The Inferno
Nobody was more determined to win a mission than Julie from Real World: New Orleans. She was so determined to win that she tampered with Veronica’s safety harness during the Grope the Rope mission on The Inferno. After about a minute the two girls got disqualified, but you could see the fear of God in Veronica’s eyes. If Julie did unlatch Veronica’s harness she could have fallen to her death. Veronica returned unscathed, but if Julie was successful there was no way Veronica would have survived a 20-story fall.
1. Tony – Battle of the Bloodlines
There were quite a few nasty spills on the Meet Me Halfway challenge on Bloodlines. Leroy’s cousin Candice actually got sent home for breaking her toe an splitting her lip open, but that’s not the injury we’re going to talk about. When Tony fell, he slammed his stomach against a platform before hitting the water. He was then taken to the hospital and was deemed OK to return to the competition. The doctor was wrong, and Tony turned green that night. Come to find out he ruptured his spline. That is a very serious and potentially fatal ailment if left untreated. Fortunately, it wasn’t Tony’s time to go, but he did get a gnarly scar.