CBS’s Survivor is in its 37th season with the theme “David vs. Goliath.” When a show has been airing for that long, accidents are bound to happen even to the most-prepared program. While medical evacuations aren’t totally uncommon (contestants have exhausted themselves and a contestant fell into a fire before, just to name a few examples) an accident without cause was unheard of until now.
Jeff Probst described the accident with Entertainment Weekly.
“The David tribe was heading back to their beach after losing the immunity challenge. The weather was quite bad and the sea was rough. The boat hit a big wave and Pat got rocked. The pain was so intense that our boat captain immediately turned around and headed back to the challenge location. Medical was called, and when Dr. Joe arrived he assessed very quickly that Pat would have to be pulled from the game because there was too much uncertainty surrounding the injury.”
While the camera crews weren’t on the boat, they managed to catch every moment of the heartbreaking medical evacuation as Pat was carried onto a nearby beach for examination. “It can’t end like this,” Pat Cusack said between gasps of pain.
According to numerous interviews, the New Yorker was the inspiration for the season’s theme and his early departure was a huge blow. Despite his severe injury, it was revealed at the end of the episode that Pat has since made a full recovery. He has no recollection of the event. Other David tribe member, Carl, reportedly smacked his head in the event but wasn’t seriously injured, as reported by EW.
Pat Cusack discussed the traumatizing event and claims that the emotional distress of having to leave the game truly gutted him.
“It sucked. It truly was probably the worst feeling in my life that I’ve ever had. I got all that way. I finally get there and to have it happen the way it did, it truly broke me down.”
Pat’s early departure meant one silver lining for the David tribe in that they wouldn’t have to attend tribal council and vote out a member. However, if the tribe had gone to tribal council, Pat thinks Nick would’ve been sent home first instead of him. Pat was an early favorite on his tribe despite coming across a little bossy. He was the driving force behind getting the shelter built and provided tons of humorous quips that must’ve helped morale. His tribe cried as they said their goodbyes to the hard-working father.
Fans are hoping to see Pat return in another season as other injured players have gotten a chance to. With Probst’s obvious support, it seems highly likely that Pat may come back to live his dream again.