Jeremy Renner Remembers His Skull 'Cracking' in Near-Fatal Snowplow Accident: 'I Was Screaming for a Breath'

“My eye bulged out," the actor recalled in his new 'Men's Health' cover story. "I could see my left eyeball with my right eyeball”

<p>Benedict Evans for Men

Benedict Evans for Men's Health

Jeremy Renner, Men's Health Magazine cover story
  • Jeremy Renner was hospitalized after being run over by a 14,300-lb. snowplow on January 1, 2023

  • The actor was in the intensive care unit for 12 days with more than 38 broken bones

  • He details the traumatic accident and recovery in the Men's Health July/August issue

Jeremy Renner is sharing the harrowing details of his near-fatal accident last year.

In a new interview with Men's Health for the magazine's July/August issue, the Mayor of Kingstown star, 53, opened up about the moment he was run over by a 14,300-lb. snowplow on January 1, 2023, in Reno, Nevada, leaving him hospitalized for 12 days.

“It undulates, because there’s four sections of tires with these metal tracks — it pulls it like a tank. I remember every undulation,” he told the outlet, recalling the terrifying accident. “I remember my head cracking on the thing and it just pressing on me — it’s exactly like you think it would feel. An immovable object and a crushing force, and something’s gotta give.”

“But thank God my skull didn’t fully give,” he said. “And then it kept going. Undulate, undulate, undulate, undulate. Cheekbone broke, eye socket broke, and then from the crushing of getting run over by the machine, my eye bulged out. I could see my left eyeball with my right eyeball. I was screaming for a breath.”

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<p>Benedict Evans for Men's Health</p> Jeremy Renner, Men's Health Magazine

Benedict Evans for Men's Health

Jeremy Renner, Men's Health Magazine

Renner said he was using every bit of his energy to try and breathe but he simply couldn’t.

“There was no breathing happening,” he said. “It's hard to use your stomach muscles when you have 14 broken ribs and a popped lung. I don’t know this at the time — I just needed to get air. I was going through the checklist of my body, figuring it the f— out.”

“The first five minutes were about how I’m going to breathe… I started getting really tired. My heart rate’s going lower, lower, lower. Huooohohh, huooohohh, just this exhaustive breathing for 45 minutes,” he explained. “But with the exhaustion there was almost peace. The EMTs arrived and I thought, I have to give my body up to them, because I’m cooked. I’m not getting up. These aren’t just cramps. I’m not gonna walk back down the driveway to see my family.”

The actor kept telling himself to “focus on breathing” until EMTs were able to rescue him. Although much of the following hours and days are a blur, Renner said he remembers a helicopter ride and hearing the words “life support.” He spent 12 days in the ICU, calling it “a f—ing disaster.”

“Showering, going to the bathroom — everything was a disaster,” he said. “Whooooooooo! They give you medications so you don’t go to the bathroom, so you get constipated. And you pee in a jar. It was awful. That’s when you know things aren’t going great — you’re peeing in a plastic jug. It took me 17 minutes to get out of bed. I was happy to sometimes sit up and push myself into a chair and move a little bit. But a shower — everything took like half a day. I couldn’t get stuff wet. Your hair gets super greasy and gross and you stink, but I had all these staples I couldn’t wet, and I wasn’t going to f—ing risk infection. So I had sponge baths.”

Related: Jeremy Renner Admits He Doesn't 'Have The Energy' to Take on 'Challenging' Roles After His Snowplow Accident

<p>Benedict Evans for Men's Health</p> Jeremy Renner, Men's Health Magazine

Benedict Evans for Men's Health

Jeremy Renner, Men's Health Magazine

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The accident left Renner with more than 38 broken bones, including breaks to his ribs, knee, ankles, pelvis, face and hands. He also suffered a collapsed lung, pierced liver and major head laceration.

But the Avengers star kept a positive mindset, which played a significant role in his lengthy recovery. “I have to get better than I was today. That’s all that f—ing matters. I’m not setting a high bar here,” he told the outlet.

His mantra since the accident: “The only thing we can control in our lives is our perspective.”

Renner has since been on the mend, and has shared his recovery journey on social media. In October 2023, he also told CNN that he felt "very blessed and very lucky to be upright and walk around and to live life" more than nine months after the incident.

“I’m very clear. My life is really lean, if that makes sense," he said. "There’s no fat in my life anymore. I don’t have time for that. So there’s something really beautiful about having that superpower.”

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