‘9-1-1’: One of Show’s Wildest Injuries and Recoveries is Based on a Real Skull-Splitting Event

by Keeli Parkey
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If you’re watching a television show titled “9-1-1,” you can expect to see some wild injuries. One of the wildest seen on the show to date involved a brain injury. And while the injury and the following recovery seemed completely unbelievable, it was actually ripped from the headlines.

Tim Minear, the co-creator of the popular Fox drama, talked about this brain injury during a March 2019 interview with Assignment X. The injury highlighted during the interview took place during the first season of the series. The unlucky character was Chimney, who is played by Kenneth Choi in “9-1-1.”

During an automobile accident, a piece of rebar pierced Chimney’s head. Luckily for him, he was able to recover and return to his job at the Los Angeles Fire Department. His recovery left some fans of the show asking whether or not such a recovery was even possible.

According to Tim Minear, the injury Chimney suffered on “9-1-1” was inspired by a real-life story.

“As a matter of fact, when we produced that story, there was a guy in South America, a piece of rebar actually fell from a great height, but it went through his skull in exactly the same way that we put it through Chimney’s skull,” Minear said.

‘9-1-1’ Uses Real-Life Situations as Inspiration for Storylines

This man, according to the “9-1-1” co-creator, recovered from what could have been a devastating injury in a very short time. “They pulled it out, and he was back to work in two weeks. He didn’t really have any brain damage,” Minear also explained.

The reason for the man’s speedy recovery is where the rebar went through his brain. “It didn’t go through any part of his brain that affected speech or cognitive function,” the “9-1-1” co-creator shared.

Basing Chimney’s story on a real-life injury allowed the audience to better believe that he could return to work fairly quickly. “So we made sure to show something that had already happened, so that you could buy the fact that Ken is going to come back and be part of the show, without it being a thing that’s going to affect everything he does from now on,” Tim Minear also said.

The brain injury Chimney sustained on “9-1-1” isn’t the only storyline on the show that was inspired by real-life events. In fact, Minear said during the same 2019 interview that many of the show’s cases come from the real world. This has been the case since the very first episode.

“A lot of our cases are real. In fact, the ones that probably you think, ‘Well, that never happened,’ are probably the ones that did happen. Even all the way back to the pilot, a (live) baby being flushed down some plumbing, that was a real thing,” Minear explained.

Outsider.com