Blaine’s doctor: Biggest risk is blindness

September 19th, 2008 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under David Blaine

There is still much secrecy about David Blaine’s planned dismount at the end of “David Blaine: Dive of Death.” Because of the secrecy, there’s not much to talk about concerning medical risks.

But before the super-secret dive will come 60 straight hours of hanging upside-down five stories over New York City’s Central Park. One of the doctors advising Blaine, Dr. Massimo Napolitano, spoke with The Record (Hackensack, N.J.) about many of the specific details of Blaine’s stunt. The biggest risk, said the chief of vascular surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center, is blindness.

Other nuggets from the story:

  • Blood will likely pool in his lungs, but since Blaine has experience with prolonged breath-holding, his body should compensate.
  • The kidneys will have problems pushing urine against gravity, so Blaine might have some swelling and cramps in his nethers.
  • Speaking of urination, he will have a system to collect it in a bag. That’s not a job we want.
  • The biggest effect he faces is reverse physiology, where the pressure on the veins in his head will increase. There’s a risk of brain swelling and clots in the veins of his eyes, which could cause blindness.

Justin Richards, of the New York Press, also got a chance to go into some medical details with Blaine. He writes about why Blaine hasn’t been eating (we’ll spare the messy bits), and what Blaine would have to do in the event of an emergency.


  1. Reporter: Stunt not as easy as it looks | Ellusionist Magic News on:

    […] said she was flushed and a little dizzy after her hang, but none the worse for the wear. Blaine faces considerably larger risks, of course. He’ll do mid-air ab crunches and leg exercises to keep his circulatory system […]