Loose Women's Sophie Morgan 'doesn't live with regret' after crash that paralysed her
Loose Women star Sophie Morgan has opened up about the car crash she went through as a teenager that left her paralysed from the chest down.
The TV presenter and award-winning disability advocate, 37, has spoken about the "very different experiences" of being non-disabled and disabled, before and after the accident.
Morgan, who has previously covered the London Paralympics in 2012 and been the lead host at the Tokyo Paralympics in 2021, told OK! magazine she doesn't live with "regret or remorse" following that fateful night that changed her life.
In 2003, when she was 18, she was driving home from a party to celebrate her A levels when she lost control of her car on an unlit country lane and veered off the road. She'd only had her licence for six months and had friends in the back of the car who'd been happily singing away. "I was speeding and very inexperienced," she said. "I was sober but I was not very good at driving."
"The steering wheel felt loose in my hands and the car swayed blindly," she told Cosmopolitan back in 2014. "I gripped on to whatever I could. Then, everything went blank. In the crash, my skull was cracked open, my right eye was dislodged, my cheek and nose crushed, my jaw broken and my collar bone snapped. But worst and most terrifying of all, one of the vertebrae in my spine was knocked out of place, and my spinal cord was injured."
She was rushed to hospital and rehabilitated for about three months, and now uses a wheelchair as a result of her spinal injury, which she describes in her new memoir Driving Forwards.
"Non-disabled and disabled are very different experiences," Morgan told the magazine, speaking on the drastic change in her life.
"It does feel like two different lives. The person I became after my injury is very different to the person I was. I've grown up, obviously, as I was a kid, but those two realities, personalities, identities definitely feel very split."
Earlier this year, Morgan shared a series of black and white images on Instagram, taken on a disposable camera by her Mum the day before the cash, who was soon by her side in hospital.
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An extract of her memoir, shown in the post reads, "A souvenir from the past. But wherever or whenever I see the girl's face in the photographs, the truth is I no longer see me.
"Not by way of the fact that all of our younger selves look different, but because, as far as I am concerned – let me just fatten out the creases – yep, many of the features we once shared were destroyed."
This is a powerful reference to Morgan needing reconstructive surgery on her face after the crash.
When asked whether she would go back and warn herself not to get in the car that day, Morgan explained the complexities of why her answer is "not as clear-cut" to the magazine.
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“Anyone who has had trauma in their lives that hasn’t killed them but has made them stronger can relate, I think. You don’t know if you would go back and change the course of events, because if you did then you wouldn’t be where you are," she said.
“It’s not as clear-cut. I don’t live with regret or remorse. Of course, there is the conundrum of disability being hard and spinal injury is not an easy thing, so there’s certainly a compulsion to be my other self.
"But then I wouldn’t have gained all the things I have, so it’s a paradox.”
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One thing is for sure, Morgan has not let her disability hold her back. She travelled to Canada less than a year after her crash to join her family on the slopes on a snowmobile.
In the same year, she then took part in the first BBC series of Beyond Boundaries, where she joined 10 people with disabilities on a 220-mile expedition across Nicaragua.
As she "didn't carry any fear after the crash" and wanted "the feeling of freedom" vehicles give her, she "very quickly got back into a car", now spending her free time travelling around on her three-wheeled Ryker motorbike, when she's not busy presenting.
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