Jeremy Renner's road to recovery explained by doctors

Jeremy Renner’s road to recovery explained by doctors: Will he be a Hollywood frontman again? Will he do his own stunts?

  • Doctors say Mr Renner doing his own stunts again is ‘not an impossibility’
  • The actor was crushed by a snowplow last month while trying to save his nephew
  • READ MORE: Jeremy Renner undergoes ‘electric stimulation workout’

Experts today said Marvel star Jeremy Renner could defy the odds and be in a leading action role within a number of months — despite a near-fatal accident just a month ago.

He suffered blunt force trauma to the chest and broke more than 30 bones after he was run over by a snowplow while trying to protect his nephew in Nevada.

The Jason Bourne and Avengers actor, 52, has said he will do ‘whatever it takes’ to recover from the ordeal, and doctors have said they have ‘no doubt’ he will be back on our screens.

But Mr Renner has a long road to recovery ahead of him to get back into fighting shape, which will involve strong painkillers as well as rigorous rehabilitation to regain his ability to walk.

The Hollywood heartthrob likes to do his own stunts, but he may never be able to pull them off with the same agility.

And the emotional trauma of the accident might mean he struggles with vehicle-related scenes.

Grateful: He also penned a short message in his post’s caption that partially read: ‘I want to thank EVERYONE for their messages and thoughtfulness for my family and I….Much love and appreciation to you all’

On the mend: Mr Renner was eventually allowed to recover at home and shared a shot of himself undergoing physical therapy last month

Dr Ron Daniels, an intensive care doctor from the UK, told that Mr Renner doing his own stunts again was ‘not beyond the realms of possibility’.

But he said: ‘His ability to do stunts is, firstly, not going to return to him for many months and, secondly, he might not be quite as agile as he was previously, even if his physical exercise tolerance improves back to normal.

‘We tend to say to people who’ve survived severe injury in intensive care that you’ll be back to 90 percent of your normal self within about 12 to 18 months after you leave hospital.’

The exact details of Mr Renner’s injuries are unknown, but the snowplow vehicle ran over his chest and leg, leaving him with blunt chest trauma and fractures. A photo he posted in the hospital also showed cuts and bruising to one side of his face.

Dr Daniels added that the fact that Mr Renner will have ‘a large army of rehabilitation support’ around him means he might even recover quicker than a year.

But Dr Daniels said that Mr Renner’s recovery could be ‘anything from full recovery to life-changing after-effects from his injuries’. 

He said: ‘He will suffer psychologically as well as physically and require support and rehabilitation for a period of many months after his injury to recover his full function.

‘Almost certainly, he will have a degree of pain and stiffness in the broken limbs, and chest wall stiffness following the chest trauma.’

Jeremy Renner on the set of Hawkeye in February 2021. He has previously performed his own stunts and even broke both his arms while filming for the action-comedy Tag after the rigging on a stack of chairs he was climbing broke

Serious situation: The Hawkeye star was seriously injured in a snowplow accident that took place on New Year’s Day, and his recovery could potentially last for years

Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz on the set of The Bourne Legacy in 2012

If his lungs were bruised, he could be left with lung scarring and long-term breathing difficulties. This could mean Mr Renner could get out of breath more easily.

Dr Daniels said: ‘I think the biggest [challenge] is going to be the PTSD that this will undoubtedly bring about.’

On Monday, Mr Renner showed he has also been prioritizing his mental recovery by reading The Book of Awakening, a ‘spiritual daybook’ written by philosopher, poet, and cancer survivor Mark Nepo. 

In the past, the actor has fearlessly performed his own stunts. He previously broke both his arms while filming for the action-comedy Tag after the rigging on a stack of chairs he was climbing broke.

He told EW in April 2018: ‘I broke along with it and fell on the ground and broke my arms.’

In terms of medication, Dr Daniels said: ‘Whatever happened to Mr Renner [in Nevada], he will have a need for at least the next several months for some fairly strong painkilling medications.’

This will be a combination of over-the-counter painkillers and ‘probably some strong opiates which will gradually be reduced over time’.

New York physiotherapist Dr Karena Wu agreed that Mr Renner’s road to recovery will be ‘busy’.

The actor will be in need of physical therapy, occupational therapy and possibly even psychotherapy, she said.

Dr Wu told ‘With so many systems and bones, muscles and tissues involved, Mr Renner will probably be doing physical therapy at a minimum of three times a week to up to five times a week for at least several months to up towards a year.’

This involves gentle stretches and exercises to gradually build back strength in the bones and muscles to regain movement.

The Marvel star shared video of him improving his leg strength with the help of a Technogym bike on Monday. 

Mr Renner focused on his left leg as he sat on the chair and pedaled away, using his hand to assist him in the motions.

Last month, he shared a photo on Instagram of him undergoing physical therapy in a hospital-style bed at home.

Jeremy Renner exercises on stationary bike as he continues recovering from horrifying snow plow incident


Jeremy Renner shared a look into his physical recovery process with a video that was shared to his Instagram account on Saturday.

Dr Wu added that Mr Renner may opt for more natural treatment options. 

‘Oftentimes, patients can choose a more homeopathic course versus chemical medications. He will probably be taking a bevy of supplements like: vitamins, minerals, protein, herbs and antioxidants to promote better cellular healing and repair,’ she said. 

Once recovered, Mr Renner may be able to do some altered stunts on camera.

Dr Wu said: ‘Typically, strength, stability and flexibility can be returned to almost 100 percent so any high level activities required on camera can be accomplished with practice and training. 

‘Mr Renner will need to accomplish his physical therapy goals of having individual and closed kinetic chain muscle strength to be able to physically perform at the level he was at before the injury.’ 

Depending on the extent of his specific injuries, that could be just several months, she said.

Mr Renner was using his snow-removal tractor to help remove his nephew’s car from his driveway at his residence near Reno, Nevada, after it became stuck in snow.

However, his snowplow began to slide down a street after the car was towed, which prompted the actor to jump out of its cab.

After he exited the vehicle, Mr Renner realized that it could potentially hit his nephew, who was with him at the time of the incident.

The Mayor of Kingstown star then attempted to re-enter the snowplow in order to divert its path but he was pulled under its left side track and run over during the attempt.

Mr Renner was crushed underneath the vehicle and was immediately taken to the hospital while suffering from breathing difficulties and various other injuries.

He had two major emergency surgeries while in the intensive care unit.

Blunt chest trauma means Mr Renner’s chest was crushed. Arizona-based neurosurgeon Dr Daniel Lieberman said in a YouTube video: ‘The good news though is that he didn’t have a penetrating chest injury, which would mean something literally cutting or penetrating into his chest cavity.’

Dr Lieberman said it is likely Mr Renner had a depressed rib fracture and underwent plating for stabilization.

He guessed that the second surgery was to do with Mr Renner’s fractures, and said: ‘We don’t yet know whether they were to the arms, legs, spine or even pelvis.’ 

But he added that the fact that Mr Renner does not have a neck brace on in his post-op Instagram photo means his neck is ‘almost certainly OK’.

Dr Lieberman said that there was ‘every reason to hope, and even expect, that [Mr Renner] will soon be able to return to acting once he’s fully healed’.

Mr Renner’s leg was also run over and fractured, but it is not clear what type of leg bone fracture he sustained.

Dr Madhi Nazar, a general practitioner from England, said in a YouTube video that with crush injuries such as Mr Renner’s, where there is a large amount of force on the bone, you often get open compound fractures.

This is where the bones snap and fragments stick out through the skin. Muscles and blood vessels can also be pierced meaning the fracture can bleed heavily, as was reported in the 911 call made for Mr Renner.

It is likely Mr Renner had plates and screws or rods and traction, Dr Madhi said, depending on the extent of the damage to the bone, to get his bones back into alignment and keep them there.

The recovery period for the leg fracture would be around six to 12 months, determined by how severely Mr Renner’s injuries were.

Dr Madhi also said that not only might Mr Renner’s lungs have been bruised in the crush, but also his heart, known as a cardiac contusion.

This can reduce the function of the heart and lead to low blood pressure and a low heart rate, meaning Mr Renner would have needed regular blood pressure checks as well as an electrocardiogram (ECG) to make sure the heart was not diverting into any strange rhythms.

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