By his early 20s, Bear Grylls became the youngest Brit to summit Mount Everest after nearly dying in an army parachute accident. Not exactly the average start to a career, but then again, nothing this adventurer does is common. From the Himalayas to the Arctic Ocean, Grylls has braved some of the most challenging waters and terrains.
His childhood passion is now a full-time job as the Man vs. Wild host takes Discovery Channel viewers to inhospitable worldwide locations teaching survival skills, even if that means eating the occasional scorpion or goat's testicle.
Now 34 years old, after the recent birth of his third child Bear Grylls spoke with me via phone for NBCSports.com to go "In Depth" ... Below is a brief excerpt from our Q&A interview.
Graham Bensinger: Congratulations on the new baby!
Bear Grylls: Oh, thank you. It's been an amazing week, really. We had the baby at home and my wife literally had no pain relief. I'm standing by with a tool box and a pack of Aspirin thinking "Oh my God!" We have a sweet little baby boy and a whole three musketeers of boys now so we're very lucky.
Bensinger: With your crazy schedule, did you plan to be in town for a prolonged period of time or did you just get lucky and your wife had the baby during one of the brief windows you're home?
Grylls: It has all sort of worked out good. The good thing about Man vs. Wild is that there isn't a whole load of other people so it's quite easy to be fluid with the plans. It happened around Christmas where I normally have a break anyway. I also busted my shoulder just before Christmas in Antarctica so I was off the show trying to get the shoulder better for a couple of months. The shoulder is getting better. The baby has appeared. I've got a few more weeks and then we start filming again at the end of February.
Bensinger: How did you hurt yourself in Antarctica?
Grylls: I was leading an expedition trying to promote the use of alternative energies and doing a whole load of stuff from exploring the continental ice shells on these bioethanol-powered jetskis to electric-powered paragliders flying into the mountains. We did a big climb on this unclimbed peak. Then, we were also using wind power for kite skiing which is when you're on skis and using these huge parachute kites. We were basically in a blizzard steaming along on these skis at 50 mph just licking across the ice. I had just put a helmet on maybe five minutes earlier, mainly to keep my hat on because it was so windy. I went off this edge and just took off on this thing and landed on my head smashing my helmet and breaking my shoulder. I had five very painful days in a tent with no painkillers waiting for an evacuation from there. I was very lucky that I put my helmet on otherwise I would literally no longer have a head.
Bensinger: After it happened, when you're lying on the ice, what are you thinking?
Grylls: You idiot! You're such an idiot! But, you know, I do get quite battered in my job. It's just kind of par for the course. I've had so many injuries in my life that it's ridiculous. I did a list for a journalist the other day and it went on for five pages. I always rely on the quote from Evil Knievel who said, "Bones heal and chicks love scars."
Bensinger: You weren't always an international television star and bestselling author. You spent three years in the British Special Air Service and it was a parachute accident that forced you out. Tell me about that.
Grylls: I was in Southern Africa doing a freefall jump. We were over the desert and it was getting dark. My parachute ripped while it was opening. I came spiraling down very very fast. I blacked out, smashed into the desert, and broke my back in three places. In the UK, I spent about a year in and out of military rehabilitation trying to get my movement and confidence back. Again, I was super lucky. The doctor said I came within a millimeter of severing my spinal cord. It was a dark time for me. I think people think I must have been very positive to go from that to climbing to the top of Everest, but it was really just a long struggle of trying to rebuild everything I'd lost.
Click Here To Read The Entire NBCSports.com Interview with Grylls
Man vs Wild with Bear Grylls airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on the Discovery Channel. Visit the show's website: www.discovery.com/manvswild