Jeremy Renner Reflects on Near-Fatal Snowplow Accident: 'If I Didn't Breathe Then I Would Have Been Gone'

The actor also revealed that several bones in his body were replaced with titanium, after breaking 38 as a result of the New Year's Day 2023 incident

Jeremy Renner is opening up about the important lessons he learned after surviving a near-fatal snowplow accident last year that left him in the intensive-care unit at the hospital.

The Hawkeye actor shared in a Wednesday, May 22, appearance The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon that he'd been “tested” to his “limits” both physically and spiritually as a result of the January 2023 accident, and had to focus on keeping himself alive during the 45 minutes he was on the ice.

“I had to exhale with all my might so I [could] suck air back in,” recalled Renner, 53. “Didn’t know I had a popped lung and all this other stuff going on. But I just had to breathe. If I didn’t breathe then I would have been gone, right?”

The actor also noted that he had broken 38 bones as a result of the New Year's Day incident — and when host Jimmy Fallon asked him how much of his body was “titanium right now,” Renner said that there were quite a few parts that were.

“This is metal,” he said, putting his hand on his left shin. “Half my face is metal. All the right side of my back is metal."

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<p>Todd Owyoung/NBC via Getty</p> Jeremy Renner backstage at <em>The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon</em> on May 22, 2024

Todd Owyoung/NBC via Getty

Jeremy Renner backstage at The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on May 22, 2024

Related: A Timeline of Jeremy Renner's Snowplow Accident and His Ongoing Recovery

The Avengers star said that he'd been clearing snow and towing a truck with the snowplow before it “got out of my hands.” The machine then started heading toward his nephew, so he attempted to jump back on it, which led to his injuries.

Renner explained to Fallon, 49, how he had still been conscious at the time, and described what was running through his head immediately after it happened.

“It's like, you see your eye with your other eye because my eyeball was out. So you have weird things that go through your head like, ‘Well, I guess that’s real, but like I’ll worry about that later,' " he said.

The Hurt Locker actor added, "And I look at my legs. They were all twisted up, and I’ll worry about that later because I’ve got to worry about breathing first, right?”

<p>Todd Owyoung/NBC via Getty</p> Jeremy Renner and Jimmy Fallon on <em>The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon</em> May 22, 2024

Todd Owyoung/NBC via Getty

Jeremy Renner and Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon May 22, 2024

Related: Jeremy Renner's Neighbor Thinks He 'Did Pass Away for a Couple Seconds' After Snowplow Accident

Renner explained to Fallon that the latter was ultimately was one of the most important lessons that he learned from the whole experience.

“I think it is a really great reminder of what we all should be looking at in life," he said. "If we get too stressed or if things get too difficult or if it's insurmountable odds or whatever it might be. Just put one foot down and then put another foot down and then move towards it, right?”

Renner has since been on the mend, and has shared his recovery journey on social media. In October 2023, he also told CNN that he felt "very blessed and very lucky to be upright and walk around and to live life" more than nine months after the incident.

“I’m very clear. My life is really lean, if that makes sense," he said. "There’s no fat in my life anymore. I don’t have time for that. So there’s something really beautiful about having that superpower.”

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