Evel Knievel

According to the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records, Evel "suffered 431 bone fractures in one season, 1972." Doing some math, that averages out to each of his 206 bones breaking slightly more than twice in the calendar year, timewise more than one broken bone per day. Others claimed that Evel had broken every bone in his body, which would apparently include the three little bones in each ear.
Despite the Guinness figure, Evel says he only broke about 37 bones in his 16 years of performing. He claims he spent more than half the years 1966 to 1973 in hospitals, in a wheelchair or on crutches, recovering from an aggregate of injuries that one doctor suggested five to ten severe auto accidents would produce. By the time he quit performing in 1981, Evel had undergone 14 major operations, with several steel plates and metal pins set into him.
However, retirement has been just as rough on him. In the last ten years, he's had an artificial hip installed after a golf-course tumble broke his old, beat-up hip; he's twice slipped and fallen in a whirlpool, breaking some ribs and a knee; he had a spinal-fusion surgery, attaching three steel plates in his back with six screws. In 1999 he received a liver transplant, after his old liver had been destroyed by alcoholism and hepatitis C, yet he still drinks. He's also suffered a bleeding esophagus, a stroke, arthritis, diabetes and pulmonary fibrosis. A 2006 AP story reported that Evel "now stays close to an oxygen tank, ingests 50 pills a day and sucks on lollipops that deliver fentanyl, a heavy-duty painkiller." In a 2007 USA Today story, Evel said that a "morphine pump" stapled to his abdomen "sends morphine and synthetic heroin into my back 24 hours a day... It affects your thinking, your brain."


No comments: