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Oct 26, 2016
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Stranger than fiction: a teenager has woken up from coma only speaking fluent Spanish.

Sixteen-year-old Rueben Nsemoh from Georgia suffered a severe concussion while playing football last month and fell into a coma.

The moment he opened his eyes three days after, he managed to mutter "Tengo hambre," which means "I'm hungry" in Spanish.

This, despite knowing only a few words from the language—which he heard from his brother who studied in Spain and teammates who spoke it—prior to the head injury.

"It started flowing out," Rueben related to TIME. "I felt like it was like second nature for me. I wasn’t speaking my English right, and every time I tried to speak it I would have a seizure."

His mother, who was with him at that moment, immediately called for medical assistance.

“I was very shocked. That’s something he’s never done before. When he got up and he started speaking Spanish, I was confused,” Dora Nsemoh narrated.

Apparently, this rare phenomena is called foreign accent syndrome, which usually occurs after an injury related to the brain, like head trauma or stroke. Despite Rueben slowly regaining his English and signs pointing to his brain's full recovery, the family is currently experiencing the burden of steep medical expenses.

Although, that's obviously the least of Dora's concerns.

“Definitely, it’s a miracle,” she said. “My son is awake, I don’t care what language he’s speaking. Whatever went on, he’s alive today and I believe a 100 percent in recovery.”


If you wish to help Rueben, this GoFundMe page is your way to go

 

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