‘Law & Order SVU’: Mariska Hargitay’s On-Set Injury Caused Her to Focus on Her ‘Blessings’

Mariska Hargitay is best known for playing Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU. Her celebrity status has continued to grow over the years. Hargitay was so dedicated to her role on the hit TV series that she volunteered to do her own stunts. Unfortunately, one of her stunts went terribly wrong. Hargitay recounted the circumstances surrounding her injury and how she learned to count her ‘blessings.’   

Mariska Hargitay had a serious injury on the set of ‘Law & Order: SVU’

Mariska Hargitay
Mariska Hargitay | Virginia Sherwood/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Back in 2008, Hargitay was seriously injured on the set of Law & Order: SVU. During an interview with Redbook, she discussed what happened to her. Hargitay says she was doing a stunt for a scene where she had to jump and land on a cushion. However, after she jumped, she landed in a way that caused bleeding in her lungs. She was later admitted to the hospital, and she had to have surgeries to repair a collapsed lung.

“I jumped and landed on pads, but on the second take something happened — I just landed wrong,” Hargitay tells Redbook. “I got up and felt that something inside was not quite right. At first, I thought I had the wind knocked out of me. I was angry with myself. Later, I thought maybe I’d pulled a muscle, but I didn’t focus on the injury and kept expecting it to get better.”

Hargitay’s injury didn’t get better. More than three months later, she says she began to feel short of breath and have chest pains. Hargitay describes a scary moment when she was walking along the beach and suddenly had chest pains so sharp that she had to kneel on one knee so she could get her bearings.

“They took an X-ray and found that my right lung was 50 percent collapsed,” says Hargitay. “I began to panic. I was so scared. I had a procedure hoping to stave off more serious surgery, but it didn’t work, and I ended up in surgery about two weeks later.”

Mariska Hargitay says her accident reminded her of the loss of her mother, Jayne Mansfield

The Olivia Benson actor says her experience was traumatic and reminded her of how things can suddenly go wrong. She tells the publication that going through this health scare brought back some of the feelings she had surrounding the loss of her mother. Hargitay was only three years old when she was involved in a car crash that killed her mother at the age of 34.

“Losing my mother at such an early age is the scar of my soul,” she tells Redbook. “But I feel like it ultimately made me into the person I am today. I understand the journey of life. I had to go through what I did to be here.”

Mariska Hargitay focused on her ‘blessings’

Hargitay says she didn’t ask “why me” after her accident. Instead, she focuses on all the things she is thankful for. Much of the joy she feels comes from her son, August, who was born in 2006.

“Becoming a parent erased many of my negative childhood feelings and filled them in with something new,” says Hargitay in her Redbook interview. Although she has been through loss and illness, Hargitay says she tries her best to focus on what’s going well in her life. She tells the publication she exists within “an interesting reality between loss and gratitude.”

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