Sometimes you have to lose something before you can truly appreciate it—and in pop musician Jason Derulo’s case, it was his body. An accident during a dance rehearsal for his show in 2012 fractured Derulo’s neck, putting him on the verge of paralysis. Flash-forward three years and he’s not only healthy again but also a confirmed fitness nut whose latest single just set the record for the most adds in pop radio history. Read on and you’ll never take your workouts for granted again.
While executing a back tuck, Derulo slipped and landed on his head. In medical circles, the injury is known as a “hangman’s break” because Derulo snapped the same vertebra that usually goes when a person is hanged. Amazingly, he walked off the scene—albeit in agony—but doctors told him he came razor close to paralysis and even death.
“I think I survived my fall because I was in decent shape,” says Derulo, whose debut album spawned three Top 10 hits and earned him a BMI Songwriter of the Year award for 2011. “I always loved to work out, but I didn’t take it as seriously as I started to after my injury. It became an obsession.”