Pushing themselves too far. Since Survivor premiered in 2000, there have been several players who had to exit the game due to a medical evacuation — and some of them have been downright scary.
Michael Skupin was the first contestant to be pulled from the game during Survivor: The Australian Outback back in 2001. On day 17, the software publisher fell into the campfire, which left him with severe burns on his hands. He had to be airlifted out of the game to get his wounds treated.
In 2007, the CBS reality series endured its first season with multiple medevacs. During Survivor: Micronesia, Jonathan Penner sustained a puncture wound on his knee while competing in a reward challenge. While he appeared fine at first, the team of onsite doctors discovered the injury had become infected several days later. The writer, who did not want to leave, ended up being pulled from the game on day 15.
Nearly two weeks later, James Clement exited the game on day 31 after being examined by the medical team after a cut got infected. However, the gravedigger’s injury was not severe enough for him to be sent home and he became the fourth member of the jury.
While medical evacuations continued on the competition show, a new record was set with Survivor: Kaôh Rōng. The 2016 iteration of the show has gone down as one of the most physically demanding seasons. On day nine, Caleb Reynolds was the first player that season to be evacuated after collapsing due to heat stroke and coming down with a fever of 110 degrees. Two additional players, Cydney Gillon and Debbie Wanner, also collapsed but remained in the game.
Ten days later, Jeff Probst brought a doctor to the newly merged tribe after several contestants reported they were injured. Neal Gottlieb, for his part, learned he had multiple staph infections. He was taken out of the competition and became the first official jury member.
On day 34, Joe Del Campo shared he had pain in his bladder after returning from a reward challenge. The former FBI agent received treatment and was allowed to stay in the game for one more day pending his improvement. Following his observation, Del Campo ended up departing the game and became a member of the jury.
In the new era of Survivor, Bruce Perreault was the first player to be removed from the game on the first day. The Survivor 44 competitor hit his head against a wooden obstacle and began bleeding profusely. Despite seeming alright, the insurance agent admitted he was starting to get a headache that evening. After being evaluated by the medical team, Bruce was forced to exit the game.
“In the spirit of what Survivor is all about, getting up off the couch, leaving your ordinary world behind — your family, your friends — left to fend for yourself in the jungle and say yes to adventure, I don’t think Bruce got his fair share of Survivor,” Jeff said in March 2023. “So, here’s the announcement. We are officially inviting Bruce to play Survivor again. First player of the new era invited back. It’s kind of exciting. It just felt like the right call.”
Keep scrolling to see all the Survivor contestants who have left the game due to medical reasons: