Stories of 10 people who develop new talent after brain injury


This article speaks the story of 10 ordinary people who become acquired savants. How one incident makes them special, turn them into a genius and changed their lives? They hadn't born talented, but they turned into one.

Some people are god gifted. They born talented. Other people just wish to be blessed with such abilities. But would you believe that an injury to the head can make you one of those gifted people?

Yes, life is full of surprises. An incident is enough to completely turn our life. Below you will read the story of 10 people who hadn't born talented. They got one eventually after a brain injury. Scientists call them acquired or sudden savants.


  1. Derek Amato


    In October 2006, while partying with friends, Derek accidentally hit his head into the shallow end of the pool. The accident was so bad that he lost 35% percent of hearing, and some part of his memory. But in return he got a very special gift. Derek has become a musical genius.

    After recovery, Derek, who had no particular interest in music before (though he played guitar, sometimes) found intense desire to play the music. Derek can play eight instruments despite he had never taken any lesson for them. He cannot even read the musical notations. Derek says "As I shut my eyes, I found these black and white structures moving from left to right, which in fact would represent in my mind, a fluid and continuous stream of musical notation."

    After years of failed jobs and homelessness, Derek is now a professional piano player and enjoying his career in music.

  2. Ken Walter


    In 1986, a fork lift up truck lost control and crashed Ken through a wall. Multiple fractures in the spinal cord and massive internal injuries put him on chair disabled. The accident was so horrible that left him in 19 years of depression and jobless.

    Then in 2005, ken had another stroke. Eventually, after the stroke, ken who had no interest for the art before starting drawings. He became very obsessed that he woke up after midnight and draw whole night. Ken did the same thing for 2 years and in 2007 he decided to show his art to the world. He submitted his creations in the art gallery of the game Second life for sale. Everything changed when Ken got a call that two of his arts has been sold and the buyer wants him to make one more in real life.

    From that day onwards, Ken got his confidence back. Later, Ken has been contacted by multinational companies such as IBM, Java, EA games who wants Ken pictures. Now Ken is earning well and feel blessed that he had a stroke that day.

  3. Jon Sarkin


    In 1988, while making tea for him in a golf game, Jon had a sudden brain hemorrhage. The stroke was serious and brought a strange problem into Jon's life. He started to hear a strange voice. Jon ignored it in the beginning thought the problem will be solved with time. But it didn't. Then, Jon went through a brain surgery and it took real tough time to come back to his normal life.

    But after the incident, Jon found a new man inside him. He was a chiropractor by profession, but he suddenly developed an interest in the art. He started to make paintings. Jon had become highly obsessed for the art that he left his chiropractor profession. He had a family to feed, and leaving a job was trouble in finance. But Jon didn't give up. Later he gets recognized for his paintings. Even Tom Cruise decided to produce a movie about Jon's life and brought right to the same for half of million dollar. Now Jon is a well-known painter and living his life with wife and three kids.

  4. Jim Carollo


    At the age of 14, Jim was in a severe auto accident that killed his mother and a friend. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, and he was not expected to live or to ever walk again. But unlikely, Jim not only recovered, but completed his MBA degree, regained his social skills and now very active physically.

    After recovery, Jim gained exceptional mathematic abilities. He cleared mastery test and calculus exam without the study. He started to read the book of PI, which he had never opened before. Jim can recall up to first 250 digits of Pi. Mysteriously, Jim had ability to do quick calculations and to recall them easily. Soon, he had a massive memory for numbers such as telephone numbers, credit card numbers, school locker combinations, bank accounts etc.

  5. Jason Padgett


    In 2002, when Jason leaving out of a karaoke bar, two men attacked and beaten him brutally on head, leaving him with a severe concussion and post-traumatic stress disorder. But that incident turned Jason into a mathematical genius who sees the world through the lens of geometry.

    Where others acquired savants have developed musical or artistic abilities, there are very few who has developed mathematical skills like Padgett. He began to see all the things around in lines and shapes. Jason draw approximations of fractals which is considered the building blocks of everything in the known the universe. He is one of the few people who can do this.

    Jason has recently published a memoir called "Struck by Genius" telling his incredible true story that "How a brain injury made me a mathematical marvel."

  6. Pip Taylor


    In May 2012, Pip falls and got a hit on the head on the stairs of Chester Racecourse. Doctors said that she would need six months to recover. Fearing she would be bored, Pip bought a sketch pad and started drawing. Pip was amazed to see that the accident had left, giving her an incredible gift.

    She had the talent to draw detailed sketches of almost all the things around. Though Pip had an interest in drawings from childhood, but she was such bad that her teacher told her not to take this as a profession.

    Now, Pip is a professional artist, and has been commissioned for works by others. She is glad and thankful for that brain injury that changed her life.

  7. Orlando Serell


    At the age of 10, a baseball smashed the left side of his head while playing. Though the hit was serious, he finished the game. Orlando didn't get any treatment since he didn't inform his parent about the incident. After suffering with headaches for almost a year, he turned into a calendar calculator.

    Ask him the day of any date, difference between two dates or any other complicated calendar calculation, Orlando answer super quick and accurate. Even he remembers weathers and other minute details of everyday life since the accident.

  8. Lachlan Connors


    A boy from Denver, Colorado, learned music after series of concussions. Lachlan Connors in his 6th grade falls and got a hit on the back of his head while playing lacrosse. He suffers another couple of hard hits on his head, which caused him to suffer epileptic seizures. Doctors told him not to play lacrosse again.

    Then, Lachlan who had never taken music classes in life started playing music. He can play 13 instruments and that with such a way like he is playing them for years.

  9. Eadweard Muybridge


    In 1880s the long time mystery of how horse galloped solved when a British Photographer Eadweard Muybridge released a series of photographs of a horse in midstride. He was brilliant at capturing the minute details of pictures in motion. But he hadn't born with this ability.

    Muybridge was born and raised in England. He started his career as a publisher's agent and later became a well-known bookseller. Once in central Texas, Muybridge got a head injury in a violent runaway stagecoach which killed one and injured all other passengers. Researchers think that the crash which injured his brain permanently may have made him such artistic genius.

  10. Dr. Anthony Cicoria


    Dr. Anthony Cicoria was an orthopedic surgeon. Since he was a football player in his college time, he was fit and robust. In 1994, at the age of 42, while talking to his mom on pay phone, he had struck by a lightning bolt. A lady nurse, who was waiting next to him to use phone, performed CPR and saved his life. Dr. Tony took few weeks to recover and come back to his normal life.

    Shortly afterwards, he had an uncontrollable hunger to listen to classical piano music. When listening to a music didn't satisfy him completely, he bought a piano and started playing. Anthony claims that he listens music in his dreams. In 2008, Dr. Cicoria released a CD of his own music called "Notes from an accidental pianist and composer."

After experiment and research on human brains, scientist has found that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to the non-invasive brain can help to solve complicated problems which extremely difficult before. There are around 40 cases of acquired savants have been recognized all over the world. These cases have convinced scientists that we all may have an artist or musician inside us. It is just about to know the right way of awakening the genius lying inside us.


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