How ‘The Karate Kid’s’ Chad McQueen Ended Up in a Coma

Chad McQueen as Dutch in "The Karate Kid" (1984).

YouTube Chad McQueen as Dutch in "The Karate Kid" (1984).

Actor Chad McQueen might be best known for his role as the pugnacious Cobra Kai member Dutch in “The Karate Kid.” Chad McQueen, son of legendary actor Steve McQueen, took after his father in more ways than one, however. Besides being an actor, the elder McQueen was an avid racecar enthusiast, even going so far as to participate in the 1961 British Touring Car Championship, in which he came in third.

Chad McQueen, who reprised his role as the combative Cobra Kai member in “The Karate Kid Part II,” is also a race car driver himself, beginning the sport at the age of 10, on the set of his father’s movie “Le Mans,” according to his website. However, he has not been so lucky as an adult when it came to his race car career.

Here’s what you need to know about what happened to the “Karate Kid” actor.

McQueen Was Almost Killed in a Race Car Accident

Chad McQueen in 2016.

YouTubeChad McQueen in Ireland during an interview in 2016.

Although McQueen’s acting career ended in 2001, he continued to race cars well into the 2000s, during his 40s.

In 2006, however, McQueen was seriously injured at the wheel while practicing at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida. His website states that “he hit the wall hard after his car suffered a mechanical failure. He suffered serious life threatening injuries, and his recovery would be arduous and painful.”

In a 2017 interview with the Sunday Times, McQueen said the accident – which left him with many broken bones and put him in a coma for almost a month – was so bad he couldn’t even remember it completely. He recalls:

I believe I cut a tire. It could have been driver error. I can’t remember, dude. I hit awful hard, but, yeah, I lost the car and went and hit the back wall and everything came in on me. I was comatose for 3½ weeks, broke my neck, broke my left leg, basically both the tibia and fibula. Yeah, broken arm, all my ribs on the right side, collapsed lung.

McQueen says that he still lives with the pain from the accident, as well as metal implants in his neck and back. In addition, he wears sunglasses regularly, in order to mask the damage done to his eye.

“Would I change anything?” he added. “No, I wouldn’t. Motor sport is the strongest drug in the world.”

In 2010, McQueen started McQueen Racing, LLC, which, according to its website, “harness[es] [McQueen’s] experience and expertise towards development of high performance, limited edition custom cars, motorcycles, and accessories.”

Will Dutch Return in ‘Cobra Kai’?

Dutch, a close friend of Johnny Lawrence in the Cobra Kai dojo during the “Karate Kid” movies, has, as of season 3, not yet made an appearance in the TV spinoff “Cobra Kai.” According to “Cobra Kai” co-star Martin Kove, this is simply because he has retired from acting, meaning it is unlikely we will see a return of Dutch in season 4.

However, McQueen’s character has been mentioned in the series. In season 2 episode 6, as Johnny reconnects with old friends Tommy and Jimmy, they reminisce about a time when they were younger when Dutch was so drunk he broke a dartboard at a bar, sending him to juvenile detention. They also mentioned that Dutch was currently serving a 5- to 10-year sentence at FCI Lompoc.

Although Chad McQueen might not be appearing on screen anymore, he is not the only one in his family to take after his father, who died in 1980. Chad McQueen’s son, Steven (named after his grandfather) is also an actor, best known for his role as Jeremy Gilbert in CW’s “The Vampire Diaries,” and Jimmy Borelli in “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D.”

In addition, through his Spanish-Filipino mother, Chad McQueen is a cousin once removed of Spanish-American singer Enrique Iglesias, according to IMDb.

Season 4 of “Cobra Kai” will be released on Netflix on Dec. 31.

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