As a parent I can’t imagine anything more horrible than seeing one of my kids getting seriously injured on live television. But that’s exactly what Sam Koch’s mother endured Saturday night as she sat in the studio audience of the popular German reality show, Wetten Dass.
For Koch’s dad, the scenario was even more excruciating. He was part of the reality TV show stunt that resulted in his son’s serious injury.
I’ve never seen Wetten Dass (Wanna Bet?), but according to Wikipedia, the premise of the wildly popular German show is a simple one: “ordinary people offer…perform some unusual (often bizarre) and very difficult task.”
And that’s what makes this recent tragedy so sad. The ordinary people part. Because the stunt in questioin not only featured ordinary people, but also an ordinary relationship, one that countless can relate to—that of father and son. Sam Koch, a 23 year-old German man was attempting to flip headfirst over a succession of moving cars, each bigger than the previous one. He wore a helmet and was equipped with stilts that had a spring-like apparatus to help with his carefully timed leaps.
All was well until the fourth jump when Koch hit his head on the vehicle over which he was trying to flip. It was being driven by his own father. Koch landed face first on the studio floor. The accident was seen by 4,000 plus in the studio audience, again, including his mother, and by an estimated 10 million TV viewers. Koch was rushed to a nearby hospital where one doctor said he exhibited signs of paralysis.
FameCrawler posted an account of the tragedy which included the Sam Koch video. It’s a segment about the tragedy which ran on the Today Show. It does not show the actual point of impact, but does shed light to the horrific tragedy.
Wetten Dass has come under fire of late. It’s been on the air since 1981, and many have complained that the stunts have become more and more dangerous. So dangerous that some are calling for the show to be taken off the air.
As I watched the Today Show piece, I was far less concerned about the fate of the show, and more more worried about the fate of the son who was struck unexpectedly in midair by the car his dad was driving. I kept asking myself two things, things I know I shouldn’t have been asking myself, but things which were impossible for me not to.
First, would I ever drive a vehicle over which one of my sons was trying to flip? And second, how would I ever cope if I had answered yes to the first question, and was then was involved in such an accident?
I genuinely don’t think that I would ever agree to participate in such a stunt, but, then again, I’m not a very daring person, at least when it comes to physical feats. But I know nothing about the Kochs other than this horrific tragedy, and one would have to assume they’ve got a history of daredevil feats under their belt or they wouldn’t have ever been on the show in the first place. So given that, such a stunt could easily fall within their scope of tolerable risk. So I’m certainly not second guessing them, but rather expressing my knee-jerk reaction to seeing a father-son-stunt go so horribly awry.
Besides, my morbid questions are nowhere near as important as this one: will Sam Koch be okay?
I hope and pray that he will. For everyone. Especially his parents.
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