A stuntman suffered a traumatic brain injury whilst filming the latest Fast and Furious movie – when a stunt went horribly wrong and he fell 25 feet from a balcony.
But in July 2019, whilst on the set of the ninth film in the Fast and Furious franchise – titled F9 – Joe sustained a fractured skull and traumatic brain injury whilst performing a stunt.
Joe Watts, 32, (pictured) suffered a traumatic brain injury whilst filming the latest Fast and Furious movie – when a stunt went horribly wrong and he fell 25 feet from a balcony
The stunt required that he be thrown over the shoulder of another stunt performer over the side of a balcony approximately 25ft high.
But, rather than remaining suspended by a wire in mid-air, Joe fell and hit the concrete floor.
He was rushed by air ambulance to the Royal London Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a fractured skull and put into an induced coma for five days.
Joe, from Epsom, Surry, spent a month in hospital at the Royal London, and a further six weeks at the Wellington hospital.
He has had to re-learn a lot of basic skills, including speech and everyday living.
And a year on from the accident, Joe is still suffering from the aftermath – especially since Covid-19 has disrupted his rehabilitation sessions with his physiotherapist, neuropsychologist, and occupational therapist.
Mr Watts was on set performing a stunt on behalf of Vin Diesel, right, when he was hurt
But despite this, Joe is determined and motivated to keep working at his recovery.
He said: ‘I can’t recall any of what happened that day, but my life has changed dramatically since then. I have not been able to do any work since the accident.
‘I am determined to maximise my recovery and I am grateful for the care I received at the Royal London Hospital, the Wellington Hospital and the Essex Air Ambulance Service.
‘Since being discharged home, I have worked hard to get to where I am with my recovery.
‘Lockdown has also slowed things down a bit, but I feel like I have made improvement.
‘I believe part of the reason is because I was very fit and healthy beforehand and the clinicians brought on board by my case manager have been amazing.’
Joe and his fiancée, Tilly Powell, 28, have hired specialist workplace injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help him access the specialist support and treatment he requires to live his life as best he can.
Joe added: ‘Throughout all of this, Tilly has been a great support to me and I don’t know what I would have done without her.
‘With her by my side, I am hopeful and determined to get my life back on track.’
Laura Middleton-Guerard, of Irwin Mitchell, has been representing Joe in the wake of his accident.
Joe Watts, pictured with his partner Tillly Powell, right, has hired specialist workplace injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help him access the specialist support and treatment he requires to live his life as best he can
She said: ‘This is a clearly devastating case, with Joe suffering life-changing injuries while taking part in a stunt on a film set.
‘Joe’s life has been turned upside down since the accident. Joe has lost the career he loved and also his confidence in his physical and mental strength and abilities.
‘However, he has demonstrated such bravery and determination to progress with his recovery.
‘The impact of Covid-19 and lockdown has understandably put a strain on the lives of many people, particularly those relying on care and therapies.
‘However, Joe has not let this stand in his way and he has worked extremely hard at his rehabilitation.
‘While nothing can change what happened to him, we will continue to support Joe and Tilly as they move forward with their lives, by ensuring he has access to ongoing funding for the rehabilitation he needs.’
Joe, who also worked as a sports massage therapist, had been doing stunts for four years before sustaining his injuries.
He is a member of The British Stunt Register and has worked on films and TV including Mission Impossible – Fallout, Star Wars Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, and Game of Thrones, as well as the recent television series Gangs Of London.