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Teen Suffers Concussion, Wakes Up from Coma Speaking Fluent Spanish

Rueben Nsemoh was playing his favorite game, soccer, when he was kicked in the head by an opponent. He was then rushed to a hospital where he fell into a three-day coma. You hear stories sportsmen being hit on the head all the time, it is not uncommon, especially for Rueben who has landed in a hospital twice before for similar circumstances. It is something that happens a lot, especially for goalkeepers. Nsemoh loves soccer and being kicked in the head a few times would not have meant much, but this time around, it resulted in a potential life threatening condition.

Foreign accent syndrome

Days after being airlifted, being operated on and being put on a respirator because of the Coma, Rueben woke up. The first thing he said was, I am Hungry, only he said it in a language that he had never quite used or understood before, Spanish.

This shocked his 54-year-old mother who is not Spanish and actually didn’t know what the words “Tengo hambre” meant, until he pointed to a tray of food. For his mother, Nsemoh’s automatic choice of language was particularly strange since they did not speak Spanish at all. Born in Nigeria, it would have made better sense if Nsemoh had woken up and said something in Yoruba.

According to Doctors, Nsemoh’s case is not unique. People have fallen into comas and woken up speaking different languages or speaking with an accent they may have never used before. Sometimes it even happens without being in a coma. You could be having surgery under anesthesia and wake up without the Texan drawl you’ve had all your life, or even speak with a posh British accent. This strange condition is called Foreign Accent Syndrome.

Nsemoh knew a couple of Spanish phrases before the the coma, but not nearly enough to carry out a conversation. His recovery, however, will affect his ability to speak fluent Spanish. He is already regaining his ability to speak English, and his new found Spanish is fading. Nsemoh still suffers from seizures but has been recovering well since he was discharged early September. You would think that he would never want to set foot on a soccer field but Nsemoh is anxious to get back on the field. However, his parents have to carry the heavy burden of medical bills that are piling up and have gotten to the $ $250,000 mark. They have now resorted to raising funds through Gofundme so that Nsemoh can get the medical attention he needs, and so that he can go back to doing what he loves and pursuing his dream.

What do you think about Rueben’s Foreign Accent Syndrome? Let us know in the comments.

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