Actor Ike Barinholtz broke his neck in a terrifying accident while shooting a fall stunt on an upcoming film, The Pact, PEOPLE can exclusively report.
The impact of his fall from a high platform on set five weeks ago left The Mindy Project star with two fractured cervical vertebrae in his neck.
“We knew something was wrong right away,” Barinholtz tells PEOPLE of the moments after the fall last month. “It was scary and was touch and go for a while.”
“Luckily, I’ve had great doctors who have really helped me with my recovery,” he adds. “I do as they tell me.”
One such doctor’s order is to keep his neck stabilized for the near future as his fractured 6th and 7th cervical vertebrae heal.
“I have to wear an incredibly stylish neck brace for a while as the bone heals,” he says, adding with his signature wit, “It’s a cool look, especially in the summer.”
Fortunately for Barinholtz, who costarred in Neighbors and plays hilarious nurse Morgan Tookers on Mindy, the brace has been seamlessly incorporated into the storyline of the hit show’s next — and final — season.
“After the accident, I talked to Mindy [Kaling] and we agreed that the only option was writing it into the show,” he says. “Luckily, on The Mindy Project I play a character who could break his neck falling out of his bunk bed and it’s completely believable.”
In fact, shooting on the next season is already full swing. Barinholtz says, “I’ve even directed an episode, although I have found it’s hard to command respect while in a neck brace.”
While the accident left him shaken, the 40-year-old married actor and father of two has maintained his humor — and tapped a renewed sense of gratitude.
“Sometimes it takes getting hurt to realize how lucky you are to have great people in your life,” he says. “My family has been taking amazing care of me, and Mindy and all the folks at the show have been so kind. Also, many friends have sent lots of food which is great — but I can’t exercise, so in a way, it’s exceptionally cruel.”
Barinholtz’s movie, The Pact, costarring John Cena and Leslie Mann, is out next spring, and the final season of The Mindy Project is set to premiere on Hulu in September.
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