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Road accidents happen all the time. There is always someone who is either speeding or drunk driving or jumping red lights. You never know what may befall you once you step outside your house. The injuries you suffer from an accident may heal but the trauma haunts you for a long time. However, one thing that nobody can expect as an outcome from an accident is learning a new skill! When a 25-year-old football player met with a severe road accident, he had to be put under a medically induced coma.
But after battling for his life when he finally woke up, the man left everyone speechless as soon as he opened his mouth.
Rory Curtis is a 25-year-old football player from Redditch, Great Britain. As a child, Rory was amazing in sports. He had been playing football since the age of 5 and has never looked back from it. He is the star of the Manchester United Youth’s team and his dream of being a pro football player doesn’t seem too far away.
It was a cloudy Saturday evening, Rory was busy practicing with his team. The coach’s whistle caught his attention as he gathered the team, dismissing them for the day. A thunderstorm was around the corner and he wanted everybody home before it starts pouring down heavy. But Rory, on the other hand, decided to stay back for one more round of practice.
The First Drop
Rory had just hit another goal when the first drop hit his forehead. He realized that the storm is here and he should be heading home now. He quickly got changed in the locker room, packed his stuff and headed out as fast as he could.
Rory was sprinting across the parking lot when the rain came down pouring. His shoes splashed water as he ran towards his car. By the time Rory managed to reach the car door, he was already drenched. He threw his kit in the backseat and turned on the wiper blades, it was going to be a long drive home thanks to this weather.
The drive back home was more challenging than Rory could have suspected. The wiper blades ran aggressively across the windshield trying to clear the hazy vision of the streets. But despite everything, it was impossible to see the road ahead. The sky was blanketed by a dark shade of gray, covered in clouds that had no intention of bringing rain to a halt anytime soon.
The Rest Stop
Coincidentally, Rory came across a rest stop. He thought about pulling up his car into the driveway and waiting out the storm. But it didn’t feel like a good idea because it will be getting dark soon. And if the storm doesn’t pass he will be stuck in the rain at night and it will become even more difficult to drive.
Rory was still struggling to see ahead as the rain came flooding on the car’s windshield. It wasn’t until the very last second when Rory noticed the truck that suddenly switched lanes and came in front of him. But by that point, it was too late and before Rory could even hit the brakes, his car went and collided with the back of the truck.
The accident ended up taking five other vehicles into the collision. Rory’s car was sandwiched between the truck and the other five cars. The people who witnessed the crash immediately pulled out their phones and called for help.
The highway looked utterly chaotic by the time the ambulance and the firefighters reached the scene. A massive crowd of people was surrounding the accident scene. The firefighters rushed in and after a quick scan of the scene, they immediately started working on a plan to remove Rory from his car.
Saving The Boy
It took them an hour of hard work to finally get Rory out of the smashed-up car. He was broken and bruised but still breathing. Even though visibly there were only a few external bruises and cuts on him, the extent of his injuries will only be clarified when they examine him at the hospital.
Rushing To The Hospital
The paramedics put Rory on a helicopter and rushed him to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. His parents were waiting at the hospital since they were contacted by the police already. The doctors immediately took him for an exam to identify his injuries and check for things like internal bleeding and damage. After taking multiple scans, the doctors had some bad news for Rory’s parents.
The doctors walked out of the examination room with a defeated look. Rory’s parents stood up in anticipation, fear evident in both of their eyes. Turns out, Rory had suffered from a severe head injury in the crash. The doctors took them to a meeting room and began to explain his condition and what to do next.
Rory had suffered from a multifocal intracranial brain hemorrhage. This meant that his brain had swollen and the blood vessels in his brain had burst, as a result, he has a brain bleed. With the blood pooling in his brain, their next step will only be to put him in a medically induced coma. This will give his brain time to recover and for the swelling to go down.
Rory’s parents had countless questions, the most obvious one being “For how long?”. They wanted to know how long it will take for him to wake up from this coma. The doctors said that because the head injury was so severe, it is highly unlikely to predict when he will be able to wake up.
With that, the doctors rushed back into the operating room and began the procedure of putting Rory in a coma. His parents were deeply saddened by this turn of events. They had to prepare themselves mentally, as its a long road ahead. It could be months or even years before Rory wakes up.
It has been less than 24 hours since Rory was put in a coma. His mother was distraught, lying by his bedside. His dad was trying to put up a strong front and staying hopeful. He knows the upcoming months are going to be very challenging and he needs to be stronger than ever if he wants to ensure they survive.
A Set Pattern
Rory’s parents were set on a pattern from that point out. During the day his mother stayed with him at the hospital, while his dad went to work. And during the night time, his mother will go home and his dad will stay with him. It wasn’t the ideal pattern but it worked, for now.
It was a warm Thursday afternoon, the heart monitor sent out lazy beeps into the otherwise quiet room. Rory’s mother was sitting next to him with a book in her hand, trying to distract herself from the image of her young son laying down in a hospital bed appearing lifeless as his empty eyes stare at the ceiling. She was even more upset today because of the news she had received from his doctor.
No More Sports
The doctor had informed her that even if Rory wakes up, he will never be able to pursue football as a career. He cannot play sports anymore. This news shook Rory’s parents, even though Rory waking up is all that they need. But they know how disheartened he will be when he finds out that he can’t play anymore.
Rory’s dad was back from work and pulling up in the hospital driveway. He was climbing the stairs to Rory’s hospital room when he spotted a commotion at the end of the corridor. As he got closer, his walk changed into a sprint when he noticed the doctors and nurses gathered outside Rory’s room.
The entire hospital was astonished to find out that Rory was awake after six days of being in a medically induced coma. His recovery has been nothing less than a miracle. From the looks of the young man, there seemed to be no long-lasting effect on him at all.
Rory’s parents were beyond happy to see their son doing exceptionally well within days. He was still a little groggy from his 6 days nap, so the doctors let him rest. The nurse took his parents to a separate room to discuss further patient care. They were having a casual conversation when the nurse asked them which side of their family belongs to France.
Sil Vou Plaît?
The confusion was evident on both of their faces, so the nurse began to narrate the events from earlier that day. When Rory woke up and called for the nurse, he had a conversation with her in french. He spoke so fluently that the nurse assumed it’s his first language. Rory’s parents were extremely confused because they were not french.
Knowledge Of Basics
The confused couple decided to address their son about this. To their surprise, Rory’s expressions mirrored their own. He was not even aware of the fact that he has been speaking french. The only french he ever learned was back in the 9th grade. And even then, he hardly managed to understand the basics.
The nurses took this issue to the equally puzzled doctors. After some research and discussions, the doctors had an answer for them. Rory was suffering from foreign language syndrome. It is a rare condition that people suffer from if they have had severe head trauma. The brain attempts to “reboot” and latches onto any piece of undamaged information it can find- a person, a memory or even a language.
If people thought that speaking french was crazy, well things were about to get crazier. Because Rory had one other thing he was confused about, it was his identity. So not only did he speak french fluently, but he also believed he is the Hollywood star, Matthew McConaughey! That’s right, Rory was convinced he is an actor.
Back To Work
This thing became evident when Rory asked the doctors about how soon they can discharge him because he had a film to shoot and getting back to work is his priority right now. Plus, every time he would look in a mirror, he will not recognize his face. He was surprised to not find McConaughey’s blue eyes staring back at him!
Rory’s condition was becoming a concern for everybody, especially after the McConaughey episode. His parents were stressed out as the doctors had no clue how to fix it. That is when a new ray of hope came into their lives. They were approached by the National Institute for Health Research Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology Research Centre.
The new team of doctors offered Rory a course of treatment, however, there was no guarantee they are going to work. They recommended admitting him in their rehab since the treatment will involve lots of therapy and an experimental drug. This drug has only been used once before, which makes him the second person to get this treatment.
The Rehab Journey
It was a long journey in the rehab center for Rory. He would spend hours in physical therapy, teaching his brain to function normally. They would ask him to do simple tasks like drawing a line from point A to point B, and Rory had a hard time doing it. But to everyone’s surprise, Rory’s body was responding well to the medication.
Time To Go Home
After two months of therapy and medication in the rehab, Rory was allowed to go home. However, this didn’t mean he was completely well now. Waking up from a coma is a long process and it happens slowly. The doctors warned Rory’s mother that he may suffer from short term memory loss for some time. And he may not have a recollection of some of his memories from the time before his accident.
The doctors reminded Rory that he is not allowed to get involved in any kind of heavy physical activity, which meant no more sports and in particular, no more football. Even though Rory understood the reason, he was devastated. Football was his future, his career. But what he didn’t know was, God had a lot in store for him.
Rory’s incredible story caught the attention of the media channels. In an interview with the Daily News he talked about the incident, “I can’t explain how it happened. It’s incredible really. I don’t remember coming round but my family said one of the nurses was from Africa and spoke French and I was having conversations with her. I was just casually chatting away about how I was feeling in this perfect French accent.”
Rory’s story didn’t end there, as he was also called on a British talk show called “This Morning”, to speak about his experience and share his story with everyone. His parents accompanied him as well and together they talked about the whole incident, the time after the rehab, the struggle of losing football, all of it.
The doctors were right to warn Rory’s mother about him forgetting events from before his accident. As Rory told on the show, “I’d ask mum if she’d fed our dog but he’d died three or four years before. As soon as she said that I cried, too. Then my memory clicked in and I thought, ‘Oh yeah, what was that all about?”
Rory even needed help for mundane things like going to the restroom and dressing up in the morning. He struggled with finding himself for quite a while. As he mentioned on the show, “I remember mum helping me to the toilet and I couldn’t believe who I was looking at when I saw myself in a mirror. I had a scar on my right temple and that side of my hair had been shaved off”
Rory has been on a long journey of recovery since his accident. But even today, Rory can speak fluent French! As per the doctors, people suffering from Foreign Langauge Syndrome eventually lose touch with the language as their brains start to recover. Rory, on the other hand, was still speaking French as fluent as a native speaker.
Luke Griggs who is the Chief Deputy of a brain injury association called Headway, explained, “While different parts of our brain are responsible for different things, all of them are interconnected. So damage to one part of the brain can lead to increased activity in other parts, which can sometimes result in surprising and unexpected effects.”
A New Phase
Even though Rory had to give up his dream of making a career in football, he found a new thing to love, hairdressing! That’s right, Rory now works as a barber in his hometown, Redditch. People love to talk to him and hear his story, while he shows off his fluency in French. He has become quite an expert in hairdressing and as of now, he is planning on doing it for the long run.
Rory has gained a whole new level of respect and appreciation for life. Ever since the accident, he has a different outlook on everything. It is not possible for him to leave his house without telling everyone that he loves them and giving them a hug. He got a second chance to live, and he does not plan on wasting it.