'Spider-Man' Actor Walking Again After Back Surgery

Christopher Tierney's father says his son is "fortunate to be alive" and will remain in the intensive care unit until at least Monday following his 30-foot fall during a performance of the Broadway show.

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Christopher Tierney, the stunt actor who fell 30 feet during a performance of Broadway's trouble-plagued Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark, is walking again after having back surgery last week.

Tierney's father, Timothy, told the New York Times that his son walked for the first time Friday -- with the help of a walker and brace -- since his Dec. 20 fall, which abruptly ended that night's performance and sent Christopher Tierney to the hospital.

Timothy Tierney said his son's fall could have been worse except for the fact that Christopher Tierney tucked his body and rolled sideways as he fell, according to his doctors. 

"My understanding is that Chris is fortunate to be alive," Timothy Tierney said, adding that the actor was falling headfirst but somehow was able to land on his right side in the basement below the Foxwoods Theater stage. 

Christopher Tierney's injuries included a hairline fracture in his skull, a broken scapula, a broken bone close to his elbow, four broken ribs, a bruised lung and three fractured vertebrae, his father said. 

In an interview with the Associated Press, Timothy Tierney said his son, who spent Christmas in the hospital with his family, is anxious to return to his Spider-Man role. He added that the show's director, Julie Taymor, paid the performer a visit in the hospital on Christmas Eve.

"They're eagerly awaiting his return," the actor's father. "He just felt so blessed to be part of this whole creative process, and he just cannot wait to get back and perform in the show."

Timothy Tierney said he believes his son will regain close to full mobility. He will remain in the intensive care unit until at least Monday and then stay in New York City for rehabilitation. Meanwhile, the pins and rods Christopher Tierney now has in his lower back will come out after he heals, his father said.

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Regarding the actor's return to Broadway, Tim Tierney said he is more positive than his son's doctors, who did not give a specific time frame for recovery.

"Doctors -- they're always pessimistic," he said.

Christopher Tierney is the fourth performer to be hurt working on the musical, which involves many complex aerial stunts. 

Despite a safety harness that should have prevented the fall, the actor's plunge from a ledge into a stage pit was not caused by equipment failure, Tim Tierney said, without elaborating. State Department of Labor officials have said the cause is still under investigation, and the Actors' Equity Association has said the fall was caused by human error.

 

His father told the Times that his son is not blaming anyone for the incident and does not plan to sue.

"Chris told me that the word 'accident' was invented for a reason, and this was an accident, pure and simple," Tierney said.

Two performances were canceled Wednesday after Tierney's fall, but the show resumed production Thursday night without incident.

In addition to the four injured performers, the production has been plagued with technical issues and, at $65 million and counting, is the most expensive Broadway show in history. Meanwhile, the official opening night has been delayed for four weeks to refine creative aspects of the show.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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