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The Biggest Injuries The Jackass Cast Has Sustained

The brainchild of aspiring actor Johnny Knoxville, skateboard magazine editor Jeff Tremaine, and director Spike Jonze, the MTV series "Jackass" crash landed into American homes on October 1, 2000. Teaming Knoxville with a ragtag crew of pro skateboarders, amateur daredevils, and literal clowns, it had the look and feel of a backyard stunt show, with an emphasis on enthusiasm and astounding pain tolerance. Against all expectations, the show was an immediate smash hit in primetime, making stars of Knoxville, Bam Margera, "Steve-O" Glover, Jason "Wee Man" Acuña, and the rest of the crew.

Their overnight success was followed by controversy, especially over concerns that impressionable viewers might harm themselves trying to replicate the show's over-the-top stunts. Connecticut senator Joseph Lieberman condemned the show in 2001, calling for its cancellation after a young man lit himself on fire. The incident made MTV gun shy about some of the show's more outlandish stunts, and conflict between Knoxville and the network led to the series ending after three seasons in February 2002.

But where MTV the cable network had to tread lightly, MTV the film studio could let the "Jackass" crew push the R rating as far as they could go. "Jackass: The Movie" premiered in October 2002 at number one. Two more sequels would follow in 2006 and 2010, plus a Knoxville-starring spinoff, "Bad Grandpa," in 2013. As the gang reunites for the long-awaited sequel "Jackass Forever," all of them are older, if not necessarily wiser. In honor of what Knoxville insists will be the last time he and his friends throw themselves in harm's way for our amusement, let's take a look back at some of the most serious injuries sustained by the "Jackass" cast.

Bam Margera's Bucket Car Race

"We're gonna go down this hill in these carts and get all hurt," Brandon DiCamillo giggles to the camera at the beginning of the Season 2, Episode 4 sketch "Bucket Cars." DiCamillo and Ryan Dunn are racing Knoxville and Bam Margera down a rural hill in what appear to be wheelbarrows affixed to platforms with wheels attached. The stated goal is to make it to the finish line at the bottom of the hill, but of course the real goal is to wipe out on the side of the road as many times as possible.

After DiCamillo and Dunn's bucket car crosses the finish line, the action turns to running the cars off a rickety plywood ramp, which is where Margera's injury takes place. As the car carrying he and Knoxville comes crashing back down to earth, Margera skids out onto the ground, immediately aware that he's broken his tailbone. The episode continues with Margera in the hospital getting X-rays on his lower spine; in a 2010 video segment for Maxim magazine, Margera notes that MTV did not cut out or blur the X-ray image, even though the outline of his penis is clearly visible.

Steve-O's Many Broken Teeth

Stephen "Steve-O" Glover has had his share of stunts go wrong over nearly 25 years of throwing himself, often face-first, into one dangerous situation after another — whether the cameras were rolling or not. In this 2019 video posted to his YouTube channel, Steve-O lays out the history of his many, many broken teeth over the years. While always self-conscious about his teeth as a boy, Steve-O had never considered cosmetic dental work until he needed to; in 1995, he jumped from a balcony at a Miami keg party and broke seven teeth, along with his cheekbone and wrist.

His first set of crowns, installed in 1997, were stained yellow to match his existing teeth. In 2004, after the tremendous success of "Jackass" the series and the first movie, Steve-O had an all new set of teeth put in. By 2009, however, he had developed a bacterial infection in his gums that necessitated a new full set of crowns put in — not due to any wild stunt, but rather a lack of flossing. Further gum troubles resulted in yet another set of crowns installed in 2014, plus dentures to replace two rotten teeth, meaning that Steve-O has had a different set of teeth in each of the four "Jackass" movies.

Knoxville vs. Butterbean

In a 2018 interview with Vanity Fair, Knoxville recalls his department store "boxing match" with professional heavyweight Eric "Butterbean" Esch. "Ah, Butterbean," Knoxville begins, and then pauses. "He's really strong." 

Filmed for 2002's "Jackass: The Movie," Knoxville and Butterbean enter a local swap meet wearing boxing robes and trunks. The two men duke it out in the middle of the sales floor with shoppers standing by. Well, "duke it out" isn't quite correct: Butterbean pummels him to the ground, waits for Knoxville to get back up, allows him to get it in one punch, and then pummels him again. Knoxville falls unconscious to the concrete floor, resulting in a concussion, vertigo, and a severe gash on the top of his head.

In the interview, Knoxville praises Esch's kind spirit and sense of humor — until it was time to put the gloves on. "I said something to him; he just looked right through me, like he didn't even know me. It really changed him when he put the gloves on." After nearly swallowing his tongue, Knoxville regains consciousness and even manages a solid joke as a nurse attends to the cut on his head: "Is Butterbean okay?"

Loomis Fall vs. Jet Engine

This stunt from "Jackass 3D" begins with Ryan Dunn recreating the famous 1980s Maxell cassette tape advertisement by sitting directly behind an idling jet engine and getting swept across a field by the exhaust. The crew wouldn't want a jet engine to go to waste, of course, so after Dunn's stunt was complete, everyone else takes a turn. Knoxville dresses as an old-timey football player and takes a jet-propelled pigskin directly to the chest. Erik Roner dons a wingsuit and unsuccessfully attempts to fly away. Singer-songwriter and part-time "Jackass" cast member Loomis Fall tries to make like Mary Poppins via an umbrella and trampoline, but instead is driven straight into the ground.

While the film shows Fall getting up from his splat and appearing to walk it off, in reality he had a broken clavicle and hand, according to the film's director Jeff Tremaine. By Tremaine's estimate, it was the most serious injury suffered by any of the gang during filming. "He jumped behind the fighter jet and just got put out like a cigarette."

Steve-O and the BB Gun Tattoo

"This is strictly for the purposes of being educational. And a good person!" So begins a 2013 video posted online by Steve-O featuring a young Machine Gun Kelly, in which the burgeoning pop-punk phenom gives Steve-O a smiley-face "tattoo" on his backside using a BB gun. The segment is only a little over two minutes long, but is one of the most excruciating stunts in which any of the show's cast have ever taken part.

MGK sits at point-blank range with his pistol-shaped BB gun while Steve-O bends down in front of him with his pants pulled down, one knee up on a chair and a protective hand over the front of his leopard-print thong. The impact of the first shot shocks them both; Steve-O howls in pain while Kelly puts his hand to his mouth in horror. The second shot is presented in slow motion, the ball bearing bursting into Steve-O's exposed right cheek. "It looks so good, though!" Kelly protests when Steve-O complains that the pain is too intense. With two eyes "drawn," MGK adds five more shots underneath as a wobbly, bloody smile. "This hurts me more than it hurts you," says a wincing, cringing Kelly — though in that moment, it seems doubtful.

Ryan Dunn and Wild Horses

The final scene of "Jackass: Number Two" is a large-scale choreographed musical number featuring the cast (poorly) singing "The Best of Times is Now" from the Broadway musical "La Cage Aux Folles." 

The scene takes Knoxville and company through different styles of musicals, from classic Busby Berkeley and Esther Williams all the way to a "Full Monty"-esque striptease. The sequence ends in an "Oklahoma!"-style hoedown featuring Knoxville, Margera, and Ryan Dunn; the camera pulls out to reveal that Margera and Dunn have their feet tied to a horse in the background. Knoxville slaps the horse's behind and it takes off, yanking Dunn and Margera off-screen along with it.

Despite the sequence's relative professionalism and polish, this ended up being one of the most dangerous stunts in the film. Dunn landed on his shoulder and developed a nearly fatal blood clot, and while bedridden with that injury was also diagnosed with Lyme Disease. He ultimately recovered from the injury, but five years after the film's release he and "Jackass: Number Two" production assistant Zachary Hartwell were killed in a drunk driving accident.

Knoxville's Knievel Tribute

In 2008, Knoxville appeared in the direct-to-video spinoff "Jackass Presents: Mat Hoffman's Tribute to Evel Knievel." He was not supposed to perform a stunt in the show, but as he told Vanity Fair, "I got to Oklahoma and everyone was having so much fun, and I decided, 'Well, I want to have some fun too.'" 

Knoxville's intention was to backflip a motorcycle, despite the fact that he did not know how to ride a motorcycle particularly well. "Sometimes when people are explaining to me how to do something before a stunt, I'm not listening 'cause I just wanna do the stunt."

After several unsuccessful attempts to flip the motorbike up the steep dirt ramp, Knoxville let go of the handlebars too soon — just as he had been told not to do. The bike spun up into the air and came back down directly on top of him, specifically on his crotch. Knoxville was rushed to the hospital, and subsequently diagnosed with a torn urethra.

For the next three years, Knoxville had to wear a catheter; the injury could have been much worse. "The doctor said a couple of centimeters down and it would have been out of commission," he told Variety in 2022. "But I've had two children since then, so it's in great working order. That's too much information."

Ehren McGhehey's Crooked Tooth

One of the most enjoyable elements of "Jackass" is when method and madness intersect, and the result is a simple task carried out in the most outrageous way Knoxville and his band of knuckleheads can imagine. Such is the case in "Lamborghini Tooth Pull" from "Jackass 3D." 

Former professional snowboarder Ehren McGhehey needs a tooth pulled. There is nothing unhealthy about the tooth; it is just a little crooked. So naturally, the chosen method of extraction is a length of extra strong fishing line, with the tooth on one end and Bam Margera's Lamborghini on the other. McGhehey sits in a dentist's chair in the middle of a racetrack while Margera floors his sports car in the opposite direction.

It's difficult to tell what is the most horrifying element to this stunt: The distinct pop sound that accompanies the tooth being pulled from McGhehey's skull; his screams of agony and inability to regain composure afterwards; or the fact that the stunt didn't just pull his tooth, but broke his face "all the way up to almost [his] eye."

Sean McInerney's Shark Attack

In 2021, the "Jackass" crew returned to television for a Discovery Channel special entitled "Jackass: Shark Week." On hand were veterans Steve-O and Chris Pontius, as well as new kids Sean "Poopies" McInerney and Davon "Jasper Dolphin" Wilson. On a show like this, the line between doing things right and things going horribly wrong can be blurry, so it was no surprise that the special would end with one of the jackasses getting bitten by a shark.

Despite Pontius' best efforts, literally playing matador with a bull shark, it was newcomer McInerney who caught the toothy end of things. In a stunt inspired by the infamous "Happy Days" episode, McInerney is attempting to jump the sharks on a waterski. Everything seems fine until he reaches the ramp for the jump; he loses control and wipes out into the water. His splashing quickly attracts a group of sharks, and though the footage is jumpy as cast and crew fly into a panic, we can clearly see the attack happen, as a dorsal fin pops out of the water and pushes McInerney underneath. The crew's safety team fishes him out of the water and evacuates the area.

McInerney suffered from severed tendons and arteries in his left hand, but is expected to make a full recovery. Steve-O and Pontius, though clearly shaken at the time, managed to find some humor in it when talking to Knoxville via laptop at the end of the episode. "His Bumble account is gonna be firing."

Johnny Knoxville's Last Hemorrhage

"Jackass Forever" arrives in theaters in February 2022 after a nearly year-long delay, and a full twelve years after "Jackass 3D." The film is filled to the brim with guest stars and new additions to the gang, though not all of the series' original stars will be returning. Ryan Dunn passed away in 2011, and Bam Margera was fired from the production in 2021 due to his erratic behavior and substance abuse issues.

Through it all, however, Johnny Knoxville has been the steady hand on the oversized shopping cart. His natural charm as host has always helped smooth over the show's rough edges, and his boyish enthusiasm for making his friends do stupid, stupid tricks is still infectious nearly 22 years after the first episode. "Jackass" may be mean at times, but it isn't mean-spirited. It helps that Knoxville is always willing to put himself at risk before anyone else. "There's nobody else on the cast that's ever going to roll the dice with their life like that," Steve-O told GQ magazine in 2021.

Knoxville rolled the dice once again in "Jackass Forever," nearly dying in a stunt that involved him performing a magic trick for a bull. Bulls have been a part of many "Jackass" stunts over the years, and seem to have a special fascination for Knoxville. 

"You know exactly what you're going to get with bulls," he told GQ. "They hate you ...Which is great for us." The run-in with this bull put Knoxville in the hospital with several broken bones, a concussion, and a brain hemorrhage. Was it worth the damage? As always, the resulting footage promises to be both hard to watch, and impossible to look away from.