Australian man wakes from coma, speaks fluent Chinese!
The brain works in mysterious ways. A young man in Australia recently woke up from a coma following a near-fatal car accident, and the first words out of his mouth when he came to shocked the hospital staff and even himself!
22-year-old Benjamin McMahon of Melbourne, Australia, was rushed to the local hospital two years ago after being involved in a car accident. The damage to his brain was significant, causing him to go into a coma. Preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best, his family and friends continued to wait and believe that he would recover. The doctors couldn't guarantee that he would, and even if he did, it was very likely that he would never would be the same.
The doctor couldn't have been more right. Miraculously, Ben woke up in a matter of a few weeks, but he really was different. Just a few seconds after waking up, he turned to his Asian nurse, who was there when he became conscious again. "Excuse me," he said. "This part of my body really hurts." Now this may not sound so interesting, except that he spoke to this nurse in perfect Chinese! Fluent! The shocked nurse immediately called his family and examined what had happened. "Was he always able to speak Chinese?" she asked. Ben's mother's response was, "Not a word."
Of course, Ben's sudden fluency in Chinese baffled everybody, including himself. He fortunately started speaking English after a few days, but it was only Chinese before that. Apparently, he had taken Chinese for a semester in high school, but failed miserably and gave up. But now, he speaks Chinese like a native! There have been a few instances in the past of other cases like this, when something happens to an individual's brain and triggers these sorts of sudden, surprising responses, but scientists don't understand exactly what and why this happens. It's assumed certain parts of the subconscious are simply triggered into consciousness. Research is, of course, being carried out as we speak.
Meanwhile, while scientists try to figure out how these things happen, McMahon is enjoying his new Chinese fluency, working as a tour guide for Chinese tourists, and even making appearances on Chinese television, among other things.
It's mind-boggling to think about what lingers in our noggins.
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