Lifestyle & Human Interest

Circus Performer Plunges to Ground Mid-Stunt, Miraculously Survives with No Broken Bones


Circuses have steadily become a thing of the past. The high, striped tents, ferocious beasts and breathtaking performances that were staples of many people’s childhoods are fading out.

Part of the reason is that people have become more aware of how those “ferocious beasts” are trained and kept, and general concern for their well-being has put many circuses out of business — or at least seriously limited their acts.

While this is progress, circuses as a whole are based on spectacle: You go because you want to be amazed, and you want to see ridiculous and oftentimes crazy things.

These performances are designed to keep you on the edge of your seat, holding your breath, because you can’t believe someone could do these things without getting hurt or dying.

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And that’s almost what happened this week in Toledo, Ohio, at the May 13 Garden Brothers Circus performance at the Huntington Center during what was supposed to be a death-defying stunt.

An attendee, Amber Ledford, caught the incident on film, and WTOL distributed the video.

The setup is familiar for circus-goers: There’s a device that swings around with a human-sized hamster wheel contraption on each end. On one side, someone’s running inside the wheel, and on the other side, a man is running along the outside of the wheel.

The amount of balance and dexterity it takes to keep upright and on the device is stunning, but the gentleman running along the outside of the wheel makes a misstep.

As he runs and his wheel is pointing at the ceiling, he pulls a flip — but lands on his back. Video shows him trying to hold on to the wheel, but he slips, crashing to the floor below.

Thankfully, his side of the machine was already nearing the ground, but still, the crowd reacts in shock when they watch him tumble and he lies motionless on the floor.

He’s immediately flanked by a crew who tends to him, even as the music continues.

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“SHOCKING VIDEO: Video courtesy of Amber Ledford shows what appears to be a circus performer taking a major fall during tonight’s Garden Bros performance at the Huntington Center,” WTOL wrote on Facebook.

Later, they determined that despite the rough-looking landing, the performer — who had been taken to the hospital — was doing surprisingly well.

“According to the Huntington Center General Manager Steve Miller the circus performer who fell is expected to be released from the hospital tonight,” they wrote in an update.

Somehow, the man had ended up with no broken bones, just harrowing video clips and a few bruises to remind him of that night.

Miller told WTOL the performer was expected to participate in the show the following evening — the show must go on!

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking