Because of Dan's stoic reticence toward discussing the circumstances of his harrowing knee injury, only the broadest outline is known: during an ill-fated Vermont ski trip, some type of devastating trauma was visited upon Dan's left knee, whereupon the anterior cruciate ligament was torn asunder.
Is it reasonable that this was nothing more than a random sports accident, or is it instead more likely that it was something sinister? Lacking an official account, speculation naturally abounds. Did Dan altruistically sacrifice himself in order to protect some innocent child by maneuvering his own body between the unsuspecting youngster and a looming danger? Or maybe it was a blind person? Or an elderly nun?
What we do know is that the injury was severe enough to necessitate surgical intervention. In nothing less than a modern medical miracle, on 15 February 2013 he received an ACL harvested posthumously from an anonymous donor. Only a few decades ago, such tissue transplants were merely the fever dreams of syphilitic madmen.
It is not yet known whether Dan has become clairvoyant or even perhaps even homicidal due to the spirit of the harvested tissue's former host asserting itself over Dan's personality, however it is not totally unreasonable to assume that he has. Accordingly, those closest to Dan should maintain vigilance for any signs that he is fighting to maintain motor control over his own body. For instance, does Dan's mouth ever attempt to pronounce two totally different words simultaneously? Should such a thing ever happen, this could be the first indication of an existential struggle for Dan's very soul.
A great many knee injury victims, facing a future of relentless physical pain and crushing social stigma, choose to live out the remainder of their wretched days hidden in the shadows. But not Dan. Unwilling to suffer the woeful fate of so many in his dire situation, Dan marshalled the vast force of will necessary to keep his excruciating physical therapy appointments, maintain a grueling home exercise regime, and endure the debilitating side effects of his various prescription medications.
Even if one somehow manages to reach the other end of this gauntlet, it is a well-established fact in the medical literature that this type of injury takes a full year to heal. In spite of this, Dan determinedly returned to work and kept his public appearance schedule. In doing so he not only made public his own personal struggle, but he also gave voice to the teeming millions who suffer through life bearing the scars of their own brutal destinies.
Britney Spears, who blew out her left knee during a June 2004 video shoot (for the song "Outrageous") which required surgery and forced her to cancel a summer tour. Spears later sued her insurance carriers after they balked at her $9.8 million claim.
Neels van Jaarsveld, during the filming of The Bang Bang Club.
“Give me the biggest guy in the world, you smash his knee and he'll drop like a stone.” —Dalton (Patrick Swayze), Road House @50:35
Dan's personal story, coupled with his prominence in the entertainment industry, opened a lot of eyes to Hollywood's irresponsible handling of our national knee injury epidemic. On the big screen, they are often portrayed in a callous — sometimes even comical — fashion, which is plainly contrary to the grim reality faced by actual victims.
If you happen to be a person for whom vivid depictions of knee trauma is a PTSD trigger, these films may be difficult to watch. Viewer discretion is advised.
2 Guns (2013) Earl shoots a veterinarian in the knee.
5 Days of War (2011) An old lady is shot in the knee.
↑“My one year anniversary of my knee surgery was this February the 15th, though I recently had follow up surgery to remove the pin in my leg (it had moved and was irritating some nerves), which I didn't mention on the podcast because in spite of certain asshole co-host's beliefs (which they then infected flop nation with) I don't talk about this all the time.” —Dan, The Flop House Facebook Group, 19 March 2014