Reuben Nsemoh was just 16 when he woke up from a three-day coma speaking fluent Spanish, baffling doctors and shocking his family.
The high school goalie was playing in a soccer match when another teen accidentally kicked Reuben in the head just as Reuben had been diving to capture a loose ball. He suffered a severe concussion and had been airlifted to the hospital where he spent days in Intensive Care.
Slowly, he began to move his hand, and started gesturing for food. Curiously, he blurted out “I’m hungry…” but in Spanish, a language that he had never learned. His Spanish was flawless, and doctors sought the help by consulting a neurologist. Any time he tried to speak English, he could utter only a few incorrect phrases before have a seizure – something that the doctors still don’t have an answer for. Gradually, he began to regain his English and for a time spoke both languages fluently, only he does admit that he has felt the Spanish slipping away.
It started flowing out,” he said. “I felt like it was like second nature for me.”
Ruben had only heard a few words of Spanish from his brother who previously studied in Spain, and his Spanish-speaking teammates.
In the meantime, his family has been reassured by doctors that Reuben’s brain scans show he will fully heal eventually, giving his mother hope.
Definitely, it’s a miracle,” said his mother. “My son is awake, I don’t care what language he’s speaking. Whatever went on, he’s alive today and I believe 100 percent in recovery.”
He may have accrued over $25,000 in medical debt, but his family is just happy that he survived.
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