A Harry Potter stunt double, who was paralyzed in a horrific accident on set, has come forward to explain the overwhelming sense of tragedy he felt when he realized he would never walk again.
David Holmes, who was 25 at the time of the accident, was paralyzed on the set of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows whilst practising a flying scene. The young stunt double was hit by a staged explosion and hurled with severe force into a wall before plummeting to he ground at The Warner Bros. Studios in Britain.
Holmes remained conscious throughout the ordeal, but told crew members;
I can’t feel my legs
before being rushed to hospital and given the shattering news that he had broken his neck and would be paralyzed for life.
Speaking to The Daily Mirror, Mr. Holmes relived the life-altering accident that occurred in January 2009. Holmes, now aged 30, revealed that although he landed on the crash mat as planned, it was his impact with the wall that caused the injury. After the accident, Holmes explained that;
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. There was definitely a sense of tragedy for me, but also a sense of sheer determination to beat it and better it
After the extent of Holme's injuries came to light, several Harry Potter cast members went to visit him in the orthopaedic unit, including Radcliffe himself.
Holmes had been Radcliffe's body double since the first Harry Potter, so understandably the pair were close. And, they still are today. After raising money for Holme's medical bills Radcliffe explained that;
I’ve got a relationship that goes back many, many years with Dave.
And I would hate for people to just see me and Dave and go, ‘oh, there’s Daniel Radcliffe with a person in a wheelchair’ – because I would never, even for a moment, want them to assume that Dave was anything except for an incredibly important person in my life
Despite the tragedy that befell Holme's on set, he remembers his time with the Harry Potter franchise fondly. He explained that;
It was an amazing experience. I loved it and Dan was an absolute pleasure to work with. The cast and crew were like a second family and I remain in touch with a lot of them to this day
Holmes was also true to his word when he said that he was determined to "beat it and better" himself after his paralysis. Although he is Tetraplegic (paralyzed in all four of his limbs), Holmes has since taken up driving a specially-modified car around race tracks at 150mph and has set up a production company, Ripple Productions, with two friends, who are also wheelchair bound.
Holmes is also an Appeal Ambassador for RNOH, the UK’s largest specialist orthopaedic hospital where he completed his gruelling physiotherapy. He says;
Every eight hours someone in the UK is told they will never walk again. Without places like the RNOH things would look much bleaker for those people. The support they gave me was incredible