Jeff Probst woke Terry Deitz up in the middle of the night on last night’s ‘Survivor’ to tell him his son was in the hospital. Naturally, Terry jetted home. So, what now?
Clearly a favorite in the group, Terry Deitz proved last night what Second Chance was really about — and who the real Survivor was here. He walked through the heartbreaking experience with his son, Danny Deitz, and what actually went down with HollywoodLife.com.
-Walk me through what was going through your mind when Jeff woke you up.
Basically, he walked me about 100 yards down the beach, and I’m thinking — whenever Probst shows up, it’s never good. I thought something had happened to my mom or my mother-in-law because they’re both elderly. When he said my son was in ICU, it just scared the living crap out of me. Without your family, it’s nothing. You just need to get home. I put on my mission face — I didn’t know much more than what you saw on TV. As soon as we got on the boat, Jeff gave me his phone to call my wife. I found out Danny had an enlarged heart, cardiomyopathy, similar to what you see athletes get who collapse on the field. Luckily my wife saw some symptoms — after his last lacrosse game, she pulled him off lacrosse field and said that’s it. No doctors had picked it up. A couple days after I left, it all went down. He had issues with all of his organs. She ordered X-Rays, and they found no fluid in his lungs, but that he had an enlarged heart. The doctor basically said to my wife, ‘You’re not going on vacation.’ He went to the ER then to Boston’s Children’s Hospital. The Survivor team was just fabulous at getting me back to Boston.
How is Danny today?
The new heart is pumping like a champ. He’s being treated at home, not going to school. He’s really healthy. He’s walking miles a day. He gets to see his girlfriend. He goes down with the football team once a week. He has to wear a mask, because he can’t get sick.
You redefined Second Chance:
I totally agree — for us to have this platform to do something about it. Getting the Danny Strong foundation going, it’s just incredible. Everyone has been so great, from the admins to the nurses to the doctors. Jeff’s in touch with me once a week. Everybody’s in touch. To help and see more of Danny’s story, go to BostonChildrens.org/dannystrong
-Would you do Amazing Race with Danny?
My wife would elbow Danny out of the way! But yeah, we’ve talked about that! People have asked if he’d do Survivor with me but he’ll always have a weak immune system so he couldn’t But The Amazing Race, yes.
– Do you still play base ball?
The tavern years! I actually don’t. I just turned 56. I probably stopped doing that when I was 52. I was being considered for one of the Survivor shows — and I slid into third base, and I swear I tore my knee. So that was it.
-On a more positive note, when you watched live, was there anything that surprised you?
I have to chuckle a little! I went out spear fishing, when Keith said something like, “Let’s do a strong five.” I don’t know if you noticed, but he wore jeans so I gave him my shorts and I ran around in my boxers! I wasn’t in that group so I texted him and said, ‘I think I want my shorts back!’ But no, I realized that Survivor changes. It’s hard to project yourselves that far in the future for that game. And yes, I was probably a lityle overconfident.
-Would you go on Survivor again?
If the timing was right, yeah it’s a great game. We’d have to see where Danny is. I was only on two weeks, but I learned more about myself — it definitely has changed over 10 years.
— Emily Longeretta