David Holmes believed he had found his dream job when he was selected to take on the role of Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double in the Harry Potter movies.
Nevertheless, things abruptly changed one day in 2009 when Holmes was filming the sixth instalment of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.
Holmes was rendered paralysed from the chest down after falling to the ground as a result of an explosion that was meant to be a staged stunt.
An insider told The Mirror at the time: “The stunt double was badly hurt. He was rehearsing a flying scene which involved an explosion and it seems to have gone badly wrong. The guy was rigged up to a harness for the scene and was flying through the air.
“It is thought he may have been caught by the explosion and hit the ground very hard.
“He told crew members who went to help him he couldn’t feel anything from the waist down. It has come as a terrible shock.”
A spokesman for the studio said: “We can confirm a member of the Harry Potter production was injured in an accident. We are awaiting further news.
“Out of respect for the family we are unable to comment further.”
Recalling the devastating incident, Holmes said: “I hit the wall and then landed on the crash mat underneath. My stunt co-ordinator grabbed my hand and said, ‘Squeeze my fingers.’ I could move my arm to grab his hand but I couldn’t squeeze his fingers.’
“I looked into his eyes and that’s when I realised what happened was major.
“I remember slipping in and out of consciousness because of the pain levels. I’d broken a bone before, so recognising that weird feeling across my whole body from my fingertips right down to my toes, I knew I had really done some damage.”
Holmes was rushed to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, North London, but sadly the damage had already been done. It was here that he was told he was paralysed from the chest down.
“I have gone from being able to stand on my hands for half an hour at a time and then all of a sudden I can’t sit up in bed,” he told The Mirror.
“My first thought was, ‘Don’t ring mum and dad, I don’t want to worry them’,” he added.
He spent 6 months in hospital, and his muscles began to get weaker and weaker.
“As soon as they sat me up and I took the weight of my head into my shoulders it was just horrendous. The patience you have to learn is unbelievable,” he said.
Despite the fact that Holmes’ injuries changed his life, the courageous actor never let his injuries stop him from achieving his goals, and he has gone one to live a very positive life.
“Having a positive mental attitude means everything. I also think that if you’re positive about your disability then it can help you live with it,” he added.
He even set up a podcast with Daniel Radcliffe titled Cunning Stunts, which highlights the risks stunt actors face.
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