Every Player Who Has Left 'Survivor' Early, Whether They Quit or Were Medevaced

Throughout 45 seasons of ‘Survivor,’ several people have quit and been medevaced, despite the ultimate prize of $1 million. So, who has quit the game?

Jamie Lerner - Author

Sep. 28 2023, Published 2:23 p.m. ET

Bruce Perrault injury in 'Survivor 44'
Source: CBS

Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Survivor 45 Episode 1.

One of the longest-running reality shows, Survivor has been on the air since 2000. Now in its 45th season, fans naturally have their fair share of criticisms for the evolution of the game, the cast, and the production. After a stellar Season 44 cast, it’s easy to be skeptical of the Season 45 cast. And when someone quits in Episode 1, it seems that skepticism is warranted.

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Fans all over Twitter were quick to criticize Hannah Rose, who decided at Lulu’s tribal council to leave the game instead of taking the spot of someone whose heart is really in it. While people are understandably disappointed that she quit, others are quick to point out that Survivor is a lot harder than it appears to be on television. So, who else has quit (or been medevaced from) Survivor?

Hannah Rose quit in 'Survivor 45'
Source: CBS
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Many people have quit ‘Survivor’ throughout its 23 years.

Hannah Rose isn't the first person to quit Survivor and she definitely won’t be the last. It’s a hard game! You’re outside in extreme heat, cold, rain, and wind without a bed, a phone, or any other comforts from home, surrounded by strangers with limited food. That doesn't sound easy, and that’s what warrants the show’s $1 million prize. We added asterisks below to the players who didn’t fully quit.

    • Hannah Rose quit Season 45 after losing interest in the game. She said her “heart wasn’t in it” and that she was hungry, tired, and suffering from nicotine withdrawal.
    • Matthew Grinstead-Mayle* technically quit in Season 44 after suffering from a shoulder injury. While the medical team let him decide whether or not to leave, his pain was so severe that he felt he had to leave by Day 11.
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    Matthew Grinstead-Mayle quits 'Survivor 45'
    Source: CBS
    • Ben Driebergen asked his alliance partner Sarah Lacina to vote him out of Season 40: Winners at War knowing the jury had little respect for him on Day 37. He wanted to give Sarah a better chance to win.
    • Sandra Diaz-Twine* quit Season 40: Winners at War when she was sent to the Edge of Extinction on Day 16. Notably, she won two prior seasons and didn’t quit the main game, but knew the Edge wasn’t for her style of gameplay.
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    • Keith Sowell* quit Season 38: Edge of Extinction after losing the first re-entry challenge on Day 17. Like Sandra, he didn’t quit the main game but decided to leave the Edge when he realized he likely wouldn’t get back in to win.
    • Wendy Diaz* quit Season 38: Edge of Extinction along with Keith after losing the re-entry challenge on Day 17. She realized the likelihood of getting back in the game was so low that it wasn’t worth staying on the Edge.
    • Bi Nguyen* quit Season 37: David vs. Goliath after she injured her medial collateral ligament. Like Matthew, medical gave her the option to stay in the game despite the extreme pain and inability to fully compete in challenges. Bi quit on Day 9, worried that her injury would affect her long-term career as an MMA fighter.
  • Julie McGee quits 'Survivor'
    Source: CBS
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    • Julie McGee quit Season 29: San Jan del Sur — Blood vs. Water after the merge feast due to her part in the Trail Mix Scandal, when she kept trail mix from the feast to eat at a later time. The tribe didn’t like this, and she was missing her partner, John Rocker, who had already been eliminated, so she quit on Day 18.
    • Lindsey Ogle quit Season 28: Cagayan — Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty on Day 14 after Cliff Robinson’s blindside. She and tribemate Trish Hegarty’s rivalry went so far, Lindsey worried she would resort to physical violence against Trish, so she pulled herself out of the game.
    • Colton Cumbie quit Season 27: Blood vs. Water when he found himself feeling isolated on his tribe and he missed his fiancé, Caleb Bankston (who has since passed away). Jeff has thrown the most vitriol Colton’s way since he quit.
    • Dana Lambert* quit Season 25: Philippines when she suffered from intense stomach pain. While the medical team said she was clear to continue the game, the pain was so severe that she decided to leave.
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    Dana Lambert quits 'Survivor'
    Source: CBS
    • NaOnka Mixon quit Season 21: Nicaragua after days of heavy rain. Even though her challenge won the reward, NaOnka still decided to leave on Day 28. In all fairness, she would have lasted through the new 26-day era.

    • Kelly Shinn quit Season 21: Nicaragua alongside NaOnka for similar reasons. They both quit during tribal council and continued on as part of the jury.
    • GC Brown disappeared before an immunity challenge in Season 17: Gabon. After his tribe lost, he asked them to vote him out due to his lack of interest in the game.
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    • Kathy Sleckman quit Season 16: Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites on Day 19 after being sent to Exile Island twice and dealing with withdrawal from her depression mediation, Zoloft. She had a mental breakdown and later said she intended to get medevaced by slicing off her finger with a machete. We’re glad she quit instead!
    • Chet Welch* encouraged his tribe to vote him on Day 17 of Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites after getting coral lodged in his foot, expecting he’d be medevaced anyway.
  • Jonny Fairplay quits 'Survivor'
    Source: CBS
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    • Jon Dalton aka Jonny Fairplay asked his tribe to vote him out on Day 3 of Season 16: Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites because his pregnant girlfriend was back home and his heart wasn’t in the game.
    • Gary Stritesky* aka Papa Smurf quit Season 14: Fiji after suffering from an allergic reaction to bug bites. While the medical team said he could continue in the game, his constant vertigo and dizziness led to his decision to leave on Day 10.
    • Ian Rosenberger* unofficially quit in Season 10: Palau on Day 38 during the Final Immunity challenge. He asked Tom to vote him out in order to reconcile his friendship with Tom and Katie after trying to blindside Tom the night before.
    • Janu Tornell quit Season 10: Palau on Day 27 after feeling ostracized from her tribe. Her goal was to keep Stephanie LaGrossa in the game, which she did successfully by quitting.
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    Janu Tornell in 'Survivor'
    Source: CBS
    • Jeff Wilson asked his tribe to vote him out of Season 10: Palau on Day 8 after he rolled his ankle and felt he was a liability to the tribe.
    • Jenna Morsaca* quit Season 8: All-Stars on Day 9 after feeling like she shouldn’t have left her mother, who was dying of cancer. Eight days after she got home, her mother passed away.
    • Sue Hawk* quit Season 8: All-Stars on Day 17 after a brush with Richard Hatch, who Sue felt harassed her. Nowadays, production would’ve never let Richard’s behavior go unchecked, and Sue wasn't afraid to let her feelings of disappointment in Jeff and the team show.
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    Sue Hawk quits 'Survivor: All Stars'
    Source: CBS
    • Osten Taylor was the first person to officially quit Survivor in Season 7: Pearl Islands. When the tribe of outcasts was allowed back in the game in an unexpected twist, Osten asked his tribe to vote him out on Day 19 because of the physical toll the game had on his body. Jeff skipped the vote and Osten quit instead.
    • Rodger Bingham encouraged the Final Five in Season 2: The Australian Outback to vote him out instead of Elisabeth Filarski on Day 36, who he felt deserved to be there more than him.
    • B.B. Anderson asked his tribe to vote him out in Season 1: Borneo on Day 6. The vote went through unanimously.
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    Many other players have been medevaced from ‘Survivor’ over the years.

    While many players have quit, others have been medically evacuated (or “medevaced”) to keep them safe. This is how in 45 seasons of Survivor, no one has died, although there have been some scary moments.

    • Bruce Perrault was medevaced in Season 44 after he hit his head during the challenge. The team noticed his condition worsened and recommended he leave the game, but he had the chance to return in Season 45.
    • Jackson Fox was pulled from Season 42 when the team learned that withdrawal from his medication could pose a serious health risk.
    • Pat Cusack injured his back in Season 37: David vs. Goliath during a choppy boat ride back to camp. The injury was so severe that Dr. Joe said he needed to be removed from the game.
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    Joe del Campo's medevac from 'Survivor'
    Source: CBS
    • Joe del Campo was pulled from Season 32: Kaôh Rōng — Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty on Day 34 when pain in his bladder was too severe to treat on the island.
    • Neal Gottlieb was also pulled from Season 32: Kaôh Rōng — Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty on Day 19 after multiple staph infections were caused by bug bites and cuts. The infections were deemed too severe to continue in the game.
    • Caleb Reynolds was the first to be pulled from Season 32: Kaôh Rōng — Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty during one of the scariest incidents in Survivor history. He collapsed due to heat stroke and his temperature spiked to 110 degrees, nearing death.
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    • Terry Dietz was evacuated (not medically) from Season 31: Cambodia — Second Chance when Jeff brought news that his son was in the hospital. Terry’s wife and the doctor insisted Terry go home to be with his son, who later received a successful heart transplant.
    • Erik Reichenbach was medevaced from Season 26: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites when he collapsed after tribal council on Day 36. The medical team felt he should be pulled.
  • Erik Reichenbach medevac from 'Survivor'
    Source: CBS
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    • Shamar Thomas was also pulled from Season 26: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites after he had a grain of sand in his eye. The injury grew so severe that the team said he could lose his eye/sight if he stayed in the game.
    • Colton Cumbie was medevaced from Season 24: One World due to severe stomach pain that could have been caused by appendicitis. It was later revealed that Colton exaggerated his pain to get out of the game.
    • Kourtney Moon was also pulled from Season 24: One World after she had a wrist injury. The medical team took X-Rays and saw she would need surgery, so she was pulled from the game.
    • Russell Swan had one of the scariest Survivor injuries in Season 19: Samoa after he passed out from severe dehydration. His blood pressure dropped so fast that the medical team feared for his life. He was later invited back to play again.

    • Mike Borassi also injured himself in Season 19: Samoa during the Schmergen Brawl and was pulled from the game.
    • Joe Dowdle was medevaced in Season 18: Tocantins after a leg infection grew so severe, it could have led to amputation or death if left untreated.
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    Jonathan Penner medevaced from 'Survivor'
    Source: CBS
    • James Clement was forced out of the game in Season 16: Micronesia — Fans vs. Favorites after he cut his finger, which got severely infected.

    • Jonathan Penner was also medevaced from Season 16: Micronesia — Fans vs. Favorites after a puncture wound in his knee was so infected it could lead to amputation. He was later invited back for a second chance.

    • Bruce Kanegei was medically evacuated in Season 12: Panama — Exile Island when his stomach pain grew so severe, the medical team insisted he leave the game.

    • Michael Skupin was famously the first medical evacuation in Season 2: The Australian Outback when he burned his hands on Day 18 after inhaling smoke from the campfire. He later returned to play again 23 seasons later.

    Here’s to hoping for less injuries and fewer quitters, although Survivor really is a “hard” game!

    New episdoes of Survivor air every Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.

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