Are The Survivors Going Soft?

Survivor LogoThe CBS show Survivor is in its 19th season.  Even after all that time its still one of the highest rated programs on the tube and certainly is the Godfather of “reality television” as we know it today.  There have been rule changes and format changes but the general game is pretty much the same as it was when Richard Hatch won the first installment.  But I’m wondering… have the Survivors gone soft?

On last night’s episode, Mike Borassi was removed from the game due to injury.  This seems to have been a common occurrence over the past couple of seasons and as a series-long Survivor fan it struck me that this sort of thing didn’t happen in the first couple of seasons.

  1. Survivor: Borneo – No medical removals
  2. Survivor: The Australian Outback – Michael Skupin fainted, fell into a fire and was removed from the game.  I remember this like it was yesterday as it was the first time a player was removed from the game.  Honestly I did not remember this being way back in Season 2.
  3. Survivor: Africa – No medical removals
  4. Survivor: Marquesas – No medical removals
  5. Survivor: Thailand – No medical removals
  6. Survivor: The Amazon – No medical removals
  7. Survivor: Pearl Islands – No medical removals
  8. Survivor: All-Stars – No medical removals
  9. Survivor: Vanuatu – No medical removals
  10. Survivor: Palau – No medical removals
  11. Survivor: Guatemala – No medical removals
  12. Survivor: Panama – Bruce Kanegai left game due to illness.  Bruce was having “internal plumbing” problems and after not shitting for 11 days he was forced to leave the game.
  13. Survivor: Cook Islands – No medical removals
  14. Survivor: Fiji – Gary Stritesky left game due to illness.  Gary suffered from vertigo brought on by an allergic reaction to bug bites.
  15. Survivor: China – No medical removals
  16. Survivor: Micronesia – Jonathan Penner and James Clement were both removed due to injury.  Jonathan had injured his knee in a previous challenge and it became infected.  James injured his finger and infection was going to spread to his joints and he was removed as well.
  17. Survivor: Gabon – No medical removals
  18. Survivor: Tocantins – Joe Dowdle removed due to injury.  He got an infection in his leg that doctors said could spread to blood or bones and could potentially lead to amputation or death.
  19. Survivor: Samoa – Mike Borassi was removed after shortness of breath and low blood pressure.

After doing the research I see that in the 19 seasons of Survivor we’ve had 7 removals due to injury or illness.  With the exception of Michael in Season 2 there were NO removals until Season 12 and since then there has medical removals in 5 out of the 8 seasons.  So are the players getting weaker or is the game getting harder?

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