Niall Matter might not be acting today if he hadn’t been in an oil rig accident years ago that almost killed him. A terrible day in his life ended up pushing him in the direction of his acting career, including his career with Hallmark.
He Was Interested in Acting, But Worked on Oil Rigs Starting at 17
Matter spoke with My Devotional Thoughts about how he got started in acting. He said that when he was just 13, a drama instructor saw him in an airband competition and approached him about taking drama as an elective course instead of mechanics. He was unsure about it, but sat in on a couple of classes and ended up getting hooked.
But he didn’t go into acting full-time right away. He said he was a third-generation oil rigger and worked on oil rigs from the age of 17 to 26. He said working on the rigs with his grandfather had turned his life around. But then he had an accident that changed everything.
At 26, He Almost Lost His Leg in an Oil Rig Accident
He told My Devotional Thoughts: “I had a really bad accident the year I turned twenty-six–I was twenty-five when I had the accident.”
In an interview with Chicago Tribune, he shared that he was almost killed in that accident when he was crushed inside the cab of a 17-ton drilling rig.
“They had to rip me out of there,” he shared. “It was pretty awful. It was horrific actually. I got to the hospital and the doctor immediately wanted to amputate my right leg. In the end, I was able to remain intact and go through extensive physio to be able to walk again.”
Recovery was long and difficult.
“It took me about six months to learn how to walk again,” he said. Even then, he still walked with a bit of “a hitch” after six months, he said. He said that because his quad muscle had been basically ripped off his femur, he had “compartment syndrome.”
Matter explained, “My muscle had to slowly re-attach to my femur and I had to train my muscle again … It was really painful but getting back to sports and getting back to being more active really helped a lot. And I don’t have any problems at all anymore with it.”
But then he tried to go back to work at the oil rig after his six-month recovery, and he saw a horrific accident on his first week back.
“When I got back to the rig, my very first week I saw a terrible accident,” he told The Chicago Tribune. “I actually witnessed a guy leave his legs on the rig and then the next day I quit. I came back to Vancouver, lied my way into a bartending job, after a month of working as a bartender I ended up booking my very first lead role.”
He booked his first acting role at the age of 26 for Syfy called Beyond Loch Ness. He starred with Brian Krause.
“So that was my very first acting gig and that was two weeks before my 26th birthday,” he said.
Ultimately, it was the rig accident that propelled him into acting and the successful career that fans enjoy watching him in today.