The human brain is a sack of wet, delicate tissue that manages to do insanely complicated work (“breathing,” “feeling,” “forming definitive rankings of Marvel movies”) in a decidedly harsh environment, with little more protection than a cushion of liquid, a thin layer of bone, and whatever common sense it can impart to the human body saddled with carrying it around. It is not, on the whole, designed for close-up encounters with a charging bull.
Jackass Forever star Johnny Knoxville has been significantly harder on his brain than most people, having suffered a reported 16 concussions across his long career of literally self-destructive stunts. But a bull-based run-in on the set of Jackass Forever was apparently a breaking point, per an interview he gave to Howard Stern this week. During the conversation, Knoxville described in detail the brain hemorrhage, and subsequent drop in cognitive ability, that he suffered after the hit.
“The bull hit was the worst hit I’ve ever taken from a bull, or maybe period,” Knoxville told Stern, before revealing that the aftermath of the stunt—which also broke his wrist and some of his ribs—saw him suffer depression for the first time after a serious head hit. (Depression is a common occurrence in the aftermath of traumatic brain injury.)
Stern, being Stern, immediately asked if Knoxville was “Suicidal?”, which the Jackass creator denied. But he did elaborate on a multi-month regimen of treatment designed to alleviate some of the effects of the brain hemorrhage, while also acknowledging that “No one in my family is happy with the stunts.” He noted that he’s been going to therapy and is feeling much better than in the immediate aftermath of the bull hit, when his attention score on a cognitive test was apparently 17 out of a possible 100.
Jackass Forever is currently stated to be the final film in which Knoxville will subject himself to all this, which: Thank Christ.