Actress and AIDS activist Rosie Perez claims she was injured back in Sept. 2009 on the set of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." Now, ET talks to the Emmy-nominated actress to find out why she is wearing a neck brace and why she was scared for her career.
"I have two slipped discs, one bulge, three sprained ligaments, and a pinched nerve, which resulted in minor nerve damage," Rosie tells ET.
She says the problem began during a stunt, which she says resulted in shaken baby syndrome, but she says she was initially misdiagnosed, and, as a result, she waited a long time to get a correct diagnosis.
"Then, when the problem was diagnosed correctly, I didn't listen to the doctors because I wanted to try alternative methods to heal. Then, I finally had to relent and give in to surgery," she says.
NBC was contacted but declined to comment on the story.
ET caught up with Rosie, a member of the Presidential Advisory Council for HIV/AIDS (PACHA), shortly after she returned from Washington, D.C., where she met President Barack Obama, neck brace and all.
"I have been an AIDS activist for 23 years," Rosie says. "AIDS has been in our lives for 30 years and there has never been a national AIDS strategy ever in the United States of America. This was the first time that it has occurred."
Naturally, she didn't want to miss the occasion, so Rosie, who had surgery just a few weeks ago, talked to her doctor, who gave her permission to go only if she followed his instructions to the letter: Go to the White House, do her thing and leave. No parties.
"We got to have a private moment with the president," she continues. "I sat in a chair and I did not want to have the picture taken with the neck brace on, so I had my scarf to rap around it. I could not stand at attention. [When] the Commander and Chief walks in the room, you stand at attention. So, he is shaking everyone's hands and he gets to me and he says, 'Rosie, what did you do to yourself?' I said, 'I injured myself on set.' He said, 'What were you doing -- a stunt? And everyone said, 'Yeah,' and he goes, 'Didn't they tell you that they have professionals to do that?' It was really funny."
Despite her injury, Rosie, who says she hadn't worked since September, managed to film a Lifetime TV movie, "Lies in Plain Sight," again under strict doctor's orders.
She says, "I went to my doctor and I said, 'I really want to do this project.' He said, 'All you can do is dialogue, you can't do any action.' So, I had a spinal injection and they extracted spinal fluid and they injected this other thing in my neck and in my spine. I was only able to work for, I think, five days, or six or seven days. But, then, towards the end of the shoot, I was in so much pain that we had to really, really take it easy."
Rosie says she has gotten through all this with the help of loved ones and by staying positive. She is so positive, in fact, that she has more work lined up for when the doctor gives her the green light to resume her career.
For more on Rosie's injury, check out the video. Then, tune in to tonight's ET.