Fans watched the Survivor 42 premiere as Jeff Probst and the production team pulled transgender contestant Jackson Fox from the game just 48 hours in. The 48-year-old hospital transporter from Houston touched his tribemates and viewers with his brave coming-out story. As such, it was very heartbreaking to watch his dream of becoming the “Sole Survivor” crushed so early into the season.
Medical evacuations aren’t uncommon on Survivor. Over the years, players have been pulled because of dangerous infections, cardiac arrests, and even severe burns from falling into the fire. While a player had never been pulled in the first episode of a season before, Jackson’s health was at serious risk. Here is everything to know about Jackson’s devastating departure from Survivor 42.
Jackson was weaning off a lithium, mood-stabilizer drug before competing on Survivor season 42. When he shared his medical history with the Survivor medical team, Jackson didn’t mention it because he believed that he’d be off the drug completely by the time he hit the sands in Fiji for Survivor 42. When Jackson arrived in Fiji for filming, he only disclosed this medication use a day before the start of the game. What Jackson didn’t know was that the risk of going off the medication while dealing with the deprivation of Survivor was incredibly dangerous. The medical team was wary about sending him into the game, but the alternate contestant for the season had already left, so the team made a decision to let Jackson play, albeit under constant supervision.
Two days into the game, Jackson was having dizzy spells, spikes in blood pressure, and not drinking enough water, so he had to be pulled from the game. Jackson told his fellow Survivor castaways that he took care of his dying mother even though he and his family had a strained relationship due to him being a trans man. It was during this time in his life, around 2016, that Jackson was prescribed a lithium-based drug to help him sleep. Recently, Jackson said he hasn’t had trouble sleeping and that’s why he made the decision to wean himself off the drug.
Viewers have been applauding Jackson for sharing his story and de-stigmatizing medicine for mental health. Even though Jackson is obviously disappointed his Survivor journey was cut short, he’s grateful for the experience of being in the Survivor 42 cast. In an interview with EW, Jackson claims, “I’ve never had more fun in my life than in those 48 hours.” Jackson is also hoping to get invited for a future season. In the past, there have been certain castaways who were medically evacuated and indeed came back in subsequent seasons. Fans are certainly hoping that Jackson will be able to play again.
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