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Survivor: Tocantins — Joe Blindsided By His Own Injury

April 10, 2009 01:40 PM by Ryan Haidet


He never officially got his torch snuffed even though he became the seventh person eliminated from Survivor: Tocantins — The Brazilian Highlands. Joe Dowdle sustained an injury to his leg, which got infected — so he became the fifth person in Survivor history to be removed from the game for medical reasons. On a conference call with reporters, Joe discussed his game-ending injury, his thoughts on the fake Immunity Idol, what food he craved the most (it’s bizarre) and how the whole Jalapao tribe made fun of Stephen. He also revealed whether or not he is on the jury.

The Injury Happened Early On

“It happened at the Immunity Challenge where we were rolling blocks and stacking them up to spell ‘Jalapao.’ I scraped it and then at the lacrosse slingshot one, I fell. I kinda felt some stuff kind of go in there. I woke up the next morning and it was already off and running.” From there he said it “progressively got worse and worse.”


Joe, a 26-year-old real estate agent from Austin, Texas, was taken away from the game’s location via helicopter. “It was pretty bad. We went straight to the hospital and I was in surgery within a couple hours. And apparently, if it would’ve gotten to the bone, I would be sporting a prosthetic right now — that’s what they tell me. … It was a relatively minor surgery, but untreated it could do a lot of damage. Everybody was happy to hear that I was in good hands, which I was. I was taken really good care of.”


He said that when host Jeff Probst first asked him to stay behind after the individual Immunity Challenge that he thought it was actually for a different reason. “My first natural thought was that they were going to tell me the Idol was fake because I suspected it all along. I don’t know why I thought that, but once he said the medics were going to come over I kind of realized they were going to really lean on me hard to take me out of there. It really wasn’t a decision on my part. It seemed more like a policy for them. Like they had already decided it.”


The Fake Idol

Joe swears he knew the fake Idol that Taj created wasn’t the real thing. “I was going to use it for firewood, man. I was going to show up at Tribal Council and drop it in the fire. … I wasn’t sold on it at all, actually. When I recovered it, I had my adrenaline pumping. My first thought is that it was just yarn with beads on it, which it was. That’s why I didn’t give it to Syd and that’s why I never played it. But I wanted it to be real, I’ll tell you that much.”

Joe said the Idol did not leave the game with him. “It was left behind and what happened to it, I have no clue.” Even though a budding friendship was evident between he and Erinn, he said she wasn’t clued in on his possession of the fake hidden Idol. “I don’t think I showed it to her. I didn’t show it to her.”

Interesting. Let’s see if somebody left in the game finds it and tries to play it.

Getting Cast & The Jury

How did Joe get selected to be a castaway? “I threw in a video and they invited me out to LA.” But there was more to the story. “My sister’s friend out in LA knows Lynne Spillman (the casting director) and that’s kind of how I was able to know where to send the video.”


After his elimination, Joe said he did not become a member of the jury. “I will not be on the jury,” he said. “It was a little disappointing, for sure. Totally out of my hands and really wanted to be there. Would’ve been fun.” He said it had nothing to do with his injury. “Whoever would’ve gotten voted out that night would’ve missed the jury anyhow.”

Favorite Aspect, Cravings & Stephen’s Running

Even though he didn’t make it as far as he might have liked to, Joe enjoyed the game. “Being able to compete in the challenges was awesome. I stayed really far under the radar, much to my detriment. It was just fun to be able to compete and go to Exile with Erinn. And build a fire and keep it going in pouring-down rain was really cool. It’s kind of all across the board as far as what I enjoyed, ya know.”

And what he was craving might make somebody gag. “Peanut butter pizza.” When asked to further explain he said, “That would’ve been just pizza with peanut butter on it. Yeah dude, it was weird.” Not to worry, he also craved something more people might enjoy — cheeseburgers. Whew.


In the first individual Immunity Challenge, Joe outlasted Stephen despite battling his leg injury. He said that Stephen was definitely an easy person to tease. “We’d make fun of Stephen’s running style — like Forrest. So that was funny. He’s self-deprecating as anything. And it’s funny to make fun of him.” Joe said that Stephen was also hurt during that challenge even though it wasn’t revealed to viewers. “He had an injury to his elbow. He had an infection similar to mine and the antibiotics worked. But apparently at that point, apparently he was struggling with it.”


Joe had some simple advice for anybody who takes on the challenge of Survivor. “Dude, be manipulative and deceptive as anything. I played that game way too up front. Try to be very likable. That’s going to be the key, I think.”


Images courtesy of Monty Brinton/CBS.

Stay tuned to RealityTVMagazine.com every Friday for interviews with the latest person voted off of Survivor: Tocantins — The Brazilian Highlands.

Check out an interview with Sydney Wheeler who was the sixth person voted off.

And in case you missed it, you can watch a video containing images of what took place in the first 15 days (Courtesy of Monty Brinton/CBS).

For other great Survivor: Tocantins news, please feel free to check out SirLinksALot: Survivor Tocantins. Discuss on our reality TV message boards. You can also read more about each of this season’s contestants by checking out our Survivor bios page.

Topics: CBS Reality TV Shows, Survivor |

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