Ska music legend Derrick Morgan has recalled how a 1994 accident changed the trajectory of his life, leaving him with a physical disability.
The Tougher than Tough singer detailed the harrowing experience, where a boulder dislodged from a hillside, causing the vehicle, driven by Chase The Devil singer Max Romeo, to crash spectacularly while they were en route to Montego Bay.
“Me, and Max Romeo were travelling to Montego Bay for a show that Hopeton Lewis was keeping in 1994. I was in the front with him, it look like a stone roll offa the hill, hit under the axle and had the car swinging all over the place,” Morgan related in an exclusive interview with DancehallMag.
“When the car go over into a common on the four wheels, me and Max ah say ‘a wah a wah?’ cause we never hit nothing. And I said ‘no man, lemme come outta this car before it bun up with me.”
Morgan, who is visually impaired, said in his eagerness and anxiety to escape the crashed car, he may have aggravated an injury he received during the accident. “Everybody say ah the blind man come outta the car first,” he joked.
His tall frame posed a challenge, forcing him to contort and squeeze through a window, an action he believes contributed to later physical ailments. “I wiggled myself to go through the window and that cause me to shift up mi spine cause mi tall, mi have to shift up myself to get through the window, and that may have led to problems later,” the singer revealed.
The immediate aftermath of the accident seemed innocuous, with x-rays revealing no broken bones. However, six years later, Morgan began experiencing troubling symptoms, including tingling in his toes and swelling under his arm. A subsequent MRI revealed a more severe condition.
“When I was reach the age of 60, mi feel the tingles in my big toes, and under the arm get puffy and feel like I am carrying a purse under mi arm. I visited the doctor, did an MRI, which revealed that a bone shifted and was touching my spinal cord. Long after I felt it and the neurosurgeon said the nature of the injury must have been caused by an accident and that was the only accident I was in,” he said.
Morgan underwent two major surgeries to address these issues, one targeting his neck and the other his lower lumbar region. According to him, these procedures, unfortunately, left him physically disabled, necessitating constant assistance.
“Because of the injury, I always have people around me to assist me,” he said.
Despite these challenges, Morgan has continued to perform all over the world, representing for Jamaican music.
He will celebrate his 84th birthday on March 27, 2024.
Derrick Morgan is easily one of the most recognized ska artists, having been conferred with the Order of Distinction in 2001, the Reggae Icon Award in 2022, and the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JARIA) Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. He is known for songs such as Blazing Fire, Don’t Call Me Daddy, The Conqueror, In My Heart, Tougher than Tough, and Seven Letters.