A scary reminder that ‘Survivor’ is not for the faint of heart as Season 38’s Lauren joins the black-out club

Kelley Wentworth might have had a sense of deja vu during a difficult endurance challenge on episode 8, “I’m the Puppet Master,” on this week’s edition of “Survivor: Edge of Extinction.” As the fourth player to drop out of the challenge where individual immunity was at stake, she got a bird’s-eye view of the moment when her closest ally in the game, college athlete Lauren O’Connell, 21, suddenly started to black out and fall to the ground.

Kelley is one of four veteran castaways who was previously on Season 29 “Survivor: San Juan del Sur — Blood vs. Water” and  Season 31 “Survivor:  Cambodia — Second Chance.” It was in Cambodia that she witnessed her fellow “Extinction” returnee, Joe Anglim, swoon and fall during an endurance challenge when he suffered from low blood sugar (see video above).

The good news is that Lauren, who has previously felt nauseous and hasn’t had a substantial meal in ages, was able to recover quickly. But her wooziness is a reminder that this reality show is no joke as it often pushes its contestants to test their physical limits.

The most grueling season by far was no. 32, “Survivor: Kaoh Rong,” thanks to the near-constant 100-degree-plus heat. During a reward challenge that lasted more than an hour in the blazing Cambodian sun, three players were felled by heat stroke and exhaustion — Debbie Wanner, Cydney Gillon and Caleb Reynolds, who had to be medically evacuated out of the game.  The situation was so bad that crew members were recruited to gather ice, water bottles and umbrellas to cool off the affected contestants.

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But the fainting spell that most rattled the show’s host, Jeff Probst , occurred on the 19th season, “Survivor: Samoa” that aired in 2009. That was when castaway Russell Swan collapsed to the ground during a puzzle challenge.  As Probst told the New York Times, “It definitely rocked my world. I was holding his head when his eyes were rolling to the back of his head. And I said, ‘Man, maybe I’ve lost my way here for a second . I need to get out and let someone else carry this show.’ ” See the video of Russell’s collapse below.


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