LOS ANGELES—AVN Hall of Fame performer Dale DaBone suffered a broken neck in a freak swimming pool accident—and now a GoFundMe campaign is underway to assist the retired star with his mounting medical expenses.
Doctors says that DaBone, who bowed out of performing in 2011, is lucky to be alive and not paralyzed after he fractured multiple bones in his neck on August 3 when he jumped into the shallow end of his pool with his dog.
“I was playing with my dog in the pool and she likes to jump in with me so we always jump in together,” DaBone told AVN from his hospital bed at Orlando Regional in Orlando, Fla. “Well this time when we jumped she kind of undercut my legs and flipped me in the air upside down and I landed directly on top of my head in the shallow end—4 feet of water. The doctors all said I should be dead right now.”
DaBone, who has no medical insurance, got out of the pool on his own that day but had a big gash on the top of his head that was bleeding.
“And I thought I had a stinger,” he said, referring to a common contact sports injury when someone’s neck and shoulder are compressed after an impact. “That’s what it felt like. Plus I was bleeding. But I dressed the wound and just thought I was going to rest.”
DaBone continued, “I woke up next day on Sunday and said, ‘Man, this is stiff. Let me run to Walgreen’s and get a foam brace.’ So I put the foam brace on and they said that’s what saved my life.
“I even went to work the next day and did my normal prison transport stuff and then I got back to the house and I told my girlfriend I’m going to go to the chiropractor to get an X-ray to make sure everything’s OK.”
But after seeing DaBone’s X-ray, the chiropractor ordered him to go to the ER immediately; and it was at the ER—after getting a cat-scan—that doctors informed him that his neck was broken in six different places.
“They told me, ‘We don’t know how you’re walking or how you’re breathing right now,” DaBone said. “They said, ‘We’ve never seen breaks like that that didn’t involve death or paralysis.’ They’re like, ‘So many different bones broke in the perfect places.’
“It was like the Grim Reaper came and paid me a visit and turned around and walked away.”
What is ironic about DaBone’s pool accident is that he executed hundreds of dangerous motorcycle stunts as an established stunt rider for several years without any major incidents. DaBone’s most high-profile work came in the mainstream movie Torque (2004); he also was a lead stunt-rider in Wicked Pictures’ epic 2011 AVN Award-winning Best Feature Speed that was directed by Brad Armstrong.
“He’s done some really pivotal movies and characters,” Armstrong told AVN Sunday. “I was especially impressed with how he did in the original Batman XXX [parody]. He really did a nice job on that. And he was a really great stunt rider for me on Speed.”
DaBone, who amassed 700 credits in a career that started in 1998, also played Elvis Presley in Axel Braun’s 2011 porn parody for Vivid.
“All these stunts and craziness and wild stuff that nobody would ever do in their lives and then I hurt myself in the pool,” DaBone cracked.
Now DaBone figures to have hospital bill that will exceed six figures as he faces what is expected to be at least 12 weeks of rehabilitation.
“I have a long hill left to climb,” he said.
“I’m just going to do it by the protocols. I have no insurance. I gave myself to the business; I gave it all I had. And I’m hoping maybe the business can give something back to me and help me out.”
DaBone said life after porn has not been easy as he has bounced around to different jobs. Some of his employers found out about his porn past and terminated him because of it.
“I had a lot of ups and downs since I quit the business. Going to nursing school and then getting a job at the hospital and then getting fired once they found out,” DaBone said. “And that kept happening over and over with so many different jobs. Then I finally get a job with prison transport and now this happens. It’s been very hard on me.
He added, “I’m always used to doing something and being on the run, whether it’s sports or motorcycles. I still have drainage tubes hanging out of my neck and all the screws and the plates and the titanium. There are so many different protocols. But I’m already starting the rehab, moving my hands and limbs and going for little walks.”
DaBone, who is 47, said he would never rule out coming back to porn for a special role, but only if it’s “something huge.”
“It’s a young man’s game now,” he said. “I don’t want to make it a career anymore.”
DaBone also offered some words of wisdom.
“Your [porn] career always ends and you better have a plan because the real world is not accepting of ex-porn stars,” he said. “I went to bartending school; I tried ocean rescue; I went to nursing school; I did sales training; and then tactical weapons training. Finally, the world of prison transport and federal money transport doesn’t seem to care about my porn. Now I finally think I am seeing the light at the end of tunnel and then this happened.”
The partial cast of Speed (Wicked Pictures, 2010)