The 48-year-old actor – best known for playing Ricky Butcher from 1988 to 2012 in the BBC soap – was on holiday in Thailand when the accident happened five weeks ago and is still unable to fly home, having undergone emergency surgery to rebuild his face.
Owen told The Sun: “One minute I’m playing a round and the next I’m in total agony and on my way to hospital. But actually I’ve almost been lucky because they’ve told me if it had hit me two inches higher up I’d probably be dead from that sort of impact.”
The soap star – who also competed in Strictly Come Dancing in 2012 – said he was struck at close range while playing golf at the Siam Country Club Old Course near Bangkok when the ball ricocheted off a tree and bounced towards him.
Owen said: “Of course it hurt like hell, but it was the shock factor too. I remember seeing two teeth fly straight out of my mouth but it turned out to be a fracture in my face and a broken jaw, along with another tooth embedded into my jaw.”
The actor has so far undergone 15 hours of reconstructive surgery to repair the damage, including a bone craft and dental implants. He is also awaiting the results of a brain scan and is unable to eat solid food.
The accident happened on 17 January and Owen has been stranded in Thailand since, as doctors have said he is not fit to fly. The actor said his visa has now expired and he has only been given a one-week extension.
Owen, who also appeared on Channel 4’s The Jump in 2016, said: "I’m still waiting on some brain scan results but the thought of there being a problem on something like that doesn’t even bear thinking about... I don’t really know anyone out here now, so I’m stuck totally on my own. It’s depressing, especially when you can’t sleep because of the pain.”
The actor said he had been on a detox holiday in Thailand as he had practised sober January for 20 years. He also revealed he is struggling to cover the costs of the surgery and extended accommodation and that his insurance company is delayed in dealing with his claim due to the coronavirus outbreak.
There had been rumours that he is set to return to Albert Square after Patsy Palmer, who plays Ricky’s partner Bianca, was recently recast in the soap.
Owen said: “I can’t really disclose anything at the moment, but I have had to turn stuff down and some auditions due to it so it is really costing me.”