30 Days: Season 3, Episode 2

30 Days in a Wheelchair (10 Jun. 2008)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | Reality-TV
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Ray Crockett, a star NFL star player with two Super Bowl rings known for his defensive prowess with the Denver Broncos... See full synopsis »

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Episode credited cast:
...
Himself - Host
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lance Bruce ...
Himself - Rehabilitation Specialist
April Crockett ...
Herself
Eloise Crockett ...
Herself - Ray's Mom
Ray Crockett ...
Himself
Leslie Cunningham ...
Herself - Rehabilitation Therapist
Lola Davis ...
Herself
Shannon Davis ...
Herself
Scott Hogsett ...
Himself - US Paralympian
Matt Pool ...
Himself - Volunteer Counselor
...
Himself (archive footage)
Bobi Robles ...
Herself - Rehabilitation Therapist
Mike Utley ...
Himself (archive footage)
Ann Marie Warren ...
Herself - Rehabilitation Psychologist
...
Himself - US Paralympian
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Ray Crockett, a star NFL star player with two Super Bowl rings known for his defensive prowess with the Denver Broncos... See full synopsis »

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10 June 2008 (USA)  »

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30 days in a wheelchair missed the mark
12 June 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I was excited and conflicted to see the FX network show "30 Days" was doing an episode about someone spending 30 days in a wheelchair. Excited because they were taking it up a level from the typical "spend a day in a wheelchair" scenario. Conflicted because I've always hated the "spend a day in a wheelchair" thing. I've spent a day using a wheelchair, matter-of-fact I've spent the last eight years using a wheelchair.

The premise of the show is to have someone pretend they have a spinal cord injury and are partially paralyzed (from the waist down) and use a wheelchair for a period of 30 days to show the physical, psychological and logistical problems encountered on a daily basis by someone that really does have to use a wheelchair every day.

Sounds interesting enough but how are they going to produce a show that pulls this off in a believable way. This is the problem I found with the show, they made a show that made good TV not a show that was actually realistic.

The person they chose to convey this story on TV couldn't have been any more removed from the reality of the typical spinal cord injury patient than if he was from Mars. Ray Crockett is a 41-year-old former NFL star multi-millionaire living in a mansion and is so far removed from the reality of this situation that he wouldn't even register on any statistical scale. He does state in the show that he realizes that 99% of spinal cord injury patients don't have the resources and ability to get things taken care of that he does. Statistically there are 250,000 Americans with spinal cord injuries and 11,000 new injuries each year, if you go by his 99% statement that means there would be 2500 multi-millionaire NFL stars with a spinal cord injury and 111 new multi--millionaire NFL stars with a spinal cord injury every year. That wouldn't make for a very good NFL, they would lose several teams every year.

This isn't to say that he couldn't suffer a spinal cord injury, we are all mere moments away from a life altering spinal cord injury but how many of you live in a mansion large enough to get around in in a wheelchair. How many people can afford to retrofit their house to be wheelchair accessible or go out and buy a van and have it modified to be wheelchair accessible on a moments notice? Okay, Ray Crockett's (and FX network's) resources aside let's look at the show itself. Understanding that the show was about spending 30 days using a wheelchair it would have been difficult to include and effectively convey the ICU stay directly after an accident. They did at least try to convey some of the rehab and psychological aspects of a recent spinal cord injury.

The biggest problem with the direction the show took was the unrealistic expectations it conveyed. Not actually going through the ICU/rehab experience it would be impossible to comprehend the effect that has on someone when they first returned home. There's a lot of readjusting and rethinking that has to be done. You have to develop a new daily routine, your body has to get used to new things, you have to figure out how you're going to pay the bills and start readjusting financial priorities. What you don't do is run out, sorry, wheel out and start playing quad rugby and hanging out at the bar with six or eight other wheelchair users having a beer.

In conclusion, the show had an opportunity to really tell the story of what it's like to have to use a wheelchair every day, unfortunately it took the path of trying to make things look good for TV instead.


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