Imagine you have a big Spanish test coming up and you’re freaking out because you don’t speak Spanish. When suddenly, due to a freak accident, you wake up one day completely fluent in the language? That’s not quite what happened to 16-yr-old Rueben Nsemoh, but his real story is nothing short of miraculous.
On September 24, 2016 during a soccer game another teenager accidentally kicked Rueben near his right temple, dealing him a severe concussion. Rueben lay unconscious on the field while teammates and family tried to revive him, but in the end Rueben was airlifted to a nearby hospital.
It was touch and go for the first 24 hours until Rueben finally stabilized. He lay in a coma for 3 days before opening his eyes… what happened next left his family shocked, confused and slightly bemused.
When Rueben opened his mouth, he could only speak Spanish.
His first words, “Tengo hambre,” or “I am hungry” took everyone in the room off guard. Rueben knew a few phrases in Spanish… but how could he be speaking only that language? “I was very shocked. That’s something he’s never done before,” said Rueben’s mother.
It’s not unheard of for head trauma patients to wake up with a different accent or to speak in broken languages… but Rueben’s case is unique. No one else has been documented speaking solely a foreign language fluently without any former training. The human mind is simply amazing.
Rueben slowly regained his ability to speak English in the weeks that followed his injury. He still speaks Spanish, but his ability to understand and speak the language is ‘starting to fade’ as he uses English more. Ruben fully recovered from his near fatal accident, but doctors still offer no acceptable explanation for his foreign language adoption.
Everyones amazed by Ruebens experience, but more than anything friends, family and the rest of us are glad that he is ok. “Definitely, it’s a miracle,” his mother said. “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.”