Tracy Morgan's Real-Life 'Nurse Jackie' Reveals How He Coped After Crash

by Raphael Chestang 4:19 PM PDT, June 01, 2015
Playing Tracy Morgan's Real-Life 'Nurse Jackie' Reveals How He Coped After Crash

Tracy Morgan doesn't remember the tragic car accident that put him in the hospital, but he does remember the woman who took care of him there.

The comedian thanked Jackie Chirichella, a nurse at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute, profusely during his interview with Today.

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"When I first came out of the coma I was a mess," Morgan told Today. "I would curse her out every day. I would throw things at her, and the only thing she would say is, 'Everything is going to be alright.'"

Chirichella humbly told us that she was just doing her job. Despite Tracy's outbursts early on in his recovery process, Chirichella knew that his actions weren't an accurate representation of who he is.

"It wasn't Tracy. That was his injury," Chirichella told ET. "I never took it personally. We never take anything our patients say or do personally, because as they're emerging from their injury sometimes that happens. We stay calm. We stay focused. It's not unusual."

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Morgan suffered a brain injury as well as a broken leg, nose and ribs in the June 7, 2014, accident in which a Wal-Mart truck collided with his tour bus on the New Jersey Turnpike.

"He had a number of real life-threatening injuries," Dr. Brian D. Greenwald told ET. "To see him almost to the day a year later doing as well as he has it's just great to have been a part of the treatment team to get him to that point."

David Clarke, who performs therapy aide at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute, was also singled out by Morgan for their care and patience in helping the comedian get healthy.

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"That made me feel real great due to the fact that he was always looking for support," Clarke said. "I made sure I gave him the reassurance that it's going to be fine."

Tragically, the accident was fatal for Morgan's friend and fellow comedian James "Uncle Jimmy Mack" McNair. McNair's family is launching the first annual Uncle Jimmy Mack Day Festival in honor of the late comedian on June 12 in Peekskill, New York, for which McNair's children Denita and Jamel have publicly requested Morgan's presence. There will also be a comedy show in McNair's honor on June 13 at the Paramount Hudson Valley Theater.