It’s all fun & games until someone loses…their life. A contestant on the 3rd season of the ABC hit show “Wipeout” died after suffering a stroke while performing one of the stunts on the show. A 33 year old recent graduate from USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism named Tom Sparks was pronounced dead on November 5th.
While performing one of the stunts on the show, he suffered a stroked and was rushed to the hospital where doctors performed several brain surgeries on him, but ultimately found that there was too much brain damage and Sparks eventually died.
He first started complained of pain in his knee at the beginning of the obstacle course. The producers told him to stop, and then medics noticed he was short of breath as well…so they took him to the hospital. His father, Bill Sparks, told friends and family that his son did have a pre-existing condition called antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS), which causes unnatural clotting of the blood. He seemed healthy though and certainly was living his life to the fullest, having just completed the Long Beach Marathon. Obviously, there was more going on with his health than people, including him, knew.
It seems that Reality TV shows have been experiencing a real dose of reality lately, with Britain’s Got Talent star Susan Boyle being rushed to the hospital from exhaustion, Paula Godspeed Idol Auditioner/Stalker who killed herself on Paula Abdul‘s front lawn, and Ryan Alexander Jenkins who was on VH1 Megan Wants A Millionaire but later killed his ex-wife then himself.
It seems as though mental-health workers are finding that contestants on shows like “Survivor” and “Big Brother” suffer some pretty bad psychological issues – even those who win! I believe it.