Jeff Probst says latest Survivor casualty is 'not a quit'

Warning: This article contains spoilers for episode 5 of Survivor 44.

Survivor has claimed another victim, but the last person to leave the game was not voted out. Nor was he medically evacuated… at least, not technically. Matthew Grinstead-Mayle became the sixth person out of Survivor 44, but his demise in the game on day 11 was actually due to the aftershocks of an injury suffered back on day 2.

Trying to take in every single aspect of the Survivor experience, Matthew decided to climb a giant rock at the start of the game, but instead took a scary tumble down when he lost his footing. It was a gruesome-looking fall, yet the player seemed to escape relatively unscathed with some cuts, bruises, and a dislocated shoulder — which Matthew appeared to pop back in. After Dr. Will and the Survivor medical department attended to Matthew's injuries and put his hurt arm in a sling, the injured patient appeared to improve — occasionally taking his arm out of the sling, participating in physical challenges, and even leading his tribe to a crucial victory.

Matthew Grinstead-Mayle on 'Survivor 44'
Matthew Grinstead-Mayle on 'Survivor 44'

Robert Voets/CBS Matthew Grinstead-Mayle on 'Survivor 44'

But while Matthew was digging deep to stay in the game, the pain in his shoulder was increasing. He began this week's episode by talking about how his spirit had been dulled by not being able to move. After Matthew sat out another immunity challenge, host Jeff Probst had the show's doctor examine his injury again.

While the injury was not anything life-threatening that would force Matthew to be medically pulled from the game (like with Bruce Perreault on day 1), Dr. Will did diagnose a tear in the soft tissue around Matthew's shoulder — a tear that clearly was very painful. That put the decision into Matthew's hands: continue to endure massive pain every day to live out his dream, or end the nightmare of physical agony by leaving to get proper medical attention.

The answer was revealed at the end of the episode when Probst visited the immunity challenge-losing tribe of Tika and informed them they did not need to vote anyone out at Tribal Council because Matthew had voluntarily left the game due to his injury.

While we did not see the decision itself or the moment when it happened on the actual show, Probst discussed the circumstances surrounding Matthew's choice to leave on the latest episode of his On Fire With Jeff Probst podcast and why he does not consider it quitting the game.

'Survivor' host Jeff Probst
'Survivor' host Jeff Probst

Robert Voets/CBS 'Survivor' host Jeff Probst

"He didn't want to leave," said Probst on the podcast. "And even though medical didn't pull him and he left on his own, it's not a quit."

While the host says the decision to leave the game was ultimately Matthew's, he believes it was the correct one to make: "The guy was in intense pain, and even our Dr. Will said, 'I don't blame him. I mean, I'm not going to pull you because it's not life or death, but I get why you're doing that.'"

As for the player himself, Probst credits him for going all out, making a big impact on the show, and, ultimately, thinking about his long-term health. "I like Matthew. He came. He played hard. And he made the right choice. He has a family and a career that he needs to look after."

For more from the host on the latest episode, as well as a look back at the very first season of Survivor, check out the latest episode of the On Fire With Jeff Probst podcast.

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