This accident on the Harry Potter set is more horrific than Lord Voldemort

In the years since Harry Potter After the movies ended, fans learned a lot about what’s going on off screen, but there are still many events that take time to come to light, especially those involving the lesser-known members of the series Harry Potter Family. As the series skyrocketed, such as Daniel Radcliffe And Emma Watson Others are less recognizable, probably because no one knows when they’ll be on screen. The stunt doubles are often the unsung heroes of movies, even though they take the biggest risks. Filmmaking can be a surprisingly dangerous business, and Harry Potter was no different.

With eight films in the works, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the filming process ran into disaster at least once, but that doesn’t make the story any less influential. Former stuntman and entrepreneur, David Holmes, was Radcliffe’s stunt double for most of the films. But that all changed after an accident on the set of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows left him paralyzed from the chest down. But even after the life-changing injury, Holmes refused to let his circumstances define him. After years of healing Holmes spoke to The Mirror about the events surrounding his paralysis and how he’s made life choices since.

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What happened to David Holmes on the set of Harry Potter?

Danielle Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint running through the woods in a promotional poster for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
Image via Warner Bros.

Flying is widely considered to be one of the more dangerous stunts, and unfortunately it’s also common Harry Potter. During rehearsals for harry potter and the deathly hallows, Holmes practiced a jerk-back stunt designed to mimic the effects of an explosion. As expected, a high-tensile wire pulled him back, but something went wrong and Holmes crashed into a wall before landing on the fall mat. The fall broke Holmes’ neck, leaving him paralyzed. The stuntman was initially unaware of the seriousness of his injury and claimed his first concern was that they would call his parents and worry them.

The stunt coordinator then asked Holmes to squeeze his fingers. Holmes could take the other man’s hand but couldn’t squeeze it. And that was the moment he realized things were going completely wrong. Although Holmes keeps losing consciousness, he still remembers the day well. Comparing the pain to the feeling he felt when bones were broken, Holmes explained in his interview with The Mirror: “When I recognized this strange feeling all over my body from fingertips to toes, I knew I really damage.” The injury was life-changing for Holmes and had long-lasting repercussions that he’s still grappling with.

Healing from the fall took a long time and will never be complete. Holmes’ diagnosis included paralysis from the chest down and limited mobility in his hands and arms. After the injury, Holmes was taken to Watford General Hospital for immediate treatment but was later transferred to the Royal National Orthopedic Hospital in Stanmore, north-west London, where he spent six months. After the injury, Holmes had to relearn simple tasks. In the time he spent healing, most of his muscles atrophied, meaning he had a lot more to recover from. Holmes told The Mirror: “I couldn’t stand on my hands for half an hour at a time and then all of a sudden I can’t sit up in bed.” At first Holmes struggled to find his balance as he was unable to sit up straight, but that didn’t last. The process required patience, perseverance and no small amount of pain, but Holmes learned to cope with his new circumstances.

Holmes forged close ties with the Harry Potter cast during his time as a stunt double

The Weasley's flying car and the Hogwarts Express on the way to Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Image via Warner Bros.

Harry Potter was not Holmes’ first film as a stuntman. He began his career as a competitive gymnast at the age of six, and by the time he was fourteen he was already a body double for the child actor in Lost in Space. stunt coordinator, Greg PowellHe met Holmes just before the start Harry Potter and suggested him for Radcliffe’s double, beginning his involvement in the series. Before his injury, Holmes trained in gymnastics, trampolining, high diving, kickboxing, horseback riding and swimming. Holmes worked on all of them Harry Potter He was making films until his accident in 2009, telling The Mirror: “It was an amazing experience. I loved it and it was a real pleasure working with Dan. The cast and crew were like a second family and I keep in touch with many of them to this day.”

I’ve spent so many years with the cast and crew of Harry Potter, It’s no surprise that Holmes has formed friendships with the others. Both Radcliffe and tom felton visited him in the hospital, but not out of courtesy. Radcliffe explicitly stated they remain friends, saying, “I have a relationship with Dave that goes back many, many years. And I would hate if people just saw me and Dave and said, ‘Oh, there’s Daniel Radcliffe with a ‘man in a wheelchair’ – because I would never, not even for a moment, want them to assume that that Dave was something other than an incredibly important person in my life.” Radcliffe even hosted a charity dinner and auction to help cover Holmes’ medical bills. A lifelong friendship seems to have developed from years of working together.

What has David Holmes done since Harry Potter?

Hogwarts students and staff raise their wands in honor of Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Image via Warner Bros.

Fourteen years after his injury, Holmes leads a busy life. Despite being in a wheelchair, Holmes has not been idle. He started with a specially modified car that he can control with his hands using a push-pull system. Holmes drives it around the track at frightening speed, still unafraid of danger. He also co-founded Ripple Productions with two quadriplegic friends, where they created a series of podcasts for people who have suffered traumatic injuries. Holmes furthers his work as an activist by being an Appeal Ambassador for RNOH, the specialty orthopedic hospital where he spent much of his recovery. Despite the life-changing accident, Holmes remains positive and unaffected by what happened to him. Even though his life doesn’t look the same as before, Holmes took control of his situation and built a life for himself.

Dustin Huang

Dustin Huang is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Dustin Huang joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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