Stuntman 'Big Dave' Mattey Left Unable To Stand Due to Mysterious Illness

A U.S. stuntman and actor has fallen ill with a condition that has left him barely able to stand, and doctors are still unsure exactly what the cause is.

David "Big Dave" Mattey, 52, is now hoping that specialist care can help alleviate the symptoms that have put his life on hold.

So named because of his 6'10" height, "Big Dave" Mattey is described by his wife as always being there for people in need, becoming a caregiver for her and her father in addition to holding stuntman, visual effects and acting jobs.

The entertainment industry professional, who has appeared in titles such as Hancock and Better Call Saul, first fell ill in December 2020 after helping out behind the scenes on the first episode of upcoming Star Wars spin-off The Book of Boba Fett, according to a GoFundMe page set up to support his care.

At first Mattey felt a general soreness that gradually worsened over the course of several weeks. Soon, he was feeling pain any time he moved.

What followed was a series of doctor visits in which Mattey had more than 100 blood tests, five MRI scans and a series of biopsies to investigate his condition.

Meanwhile, his symptoms worsened. Mattey's vision soon became blurry, sneezing leaves him feeling exhausted and he rarely gets more than five hours sleep per night because of the pain.

Yet specialists have so far been unable to pin down his condition. The leading theory is amyloidosis—a rare and potentially fatal disease characterized by the buildup of amyloid protein deposits. It can affect organs, tissues, nerves and other parts of the body and impair normal function. However, medics aren't sure what could have caused the condition to develop.

Amyloidosis is uncommon, affecting fewer than 4,000 people in the U.S. each year, according to the Cedars-Sinai healthcare organization in Los Angeles. The specific type that Mattey potentially has may come with a particularly short life expectancy, somewhere between 13 and 60 months.

Mattey and his wife have moved to New York in what was described as a "medical Hail Mary" in the hopes that his condition can be treated by amyloidosis specialists there.

Adam Nadelson, organizer of the GoFundMe page and a friend of Mattey and his wife Cristina, told Newsweek: "Getting test results and reports transferred took a little bit of time, but on February 4th he's seeing a new primary who will be running point, and he's got appointments with two specialists later in the month.

"Mary Imogene Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown has had some success with stem cell treatments on patients with symptoms similar to Dave's, and that's where we are, so we're hopeful."

Recently Mattey's condition has left him unable to stand for more than 30 seconds without sweating from the pain, and his family and friends must also finance a wheelchair van in order to get around more easily.

An outpouring of support has seen the family's fundraiser, titled "Help Big Dave fight his BIG problem" gain $60,000 as of this week.

"Dave's day-to-day situation is challenging since he's continually deteriorating, but the fundraiser has certainly infused him with hope," Nadelson added. "Seeing how many people care about him has really lifted his spirits."

For now, Mattey and his family and friends are looking ahead to potential treatments.

Dave Mattey
David "Big Dave" Mattey, pictured. The U.S. stuntman and actor is pursuing treatment for a condition that has left him with a number of difficult symptoms. Photo provided by Adam Nadelson. Adam Nadelson