6 Weird Things That Happened After a Coma
From speaking foreign languages to feeling like Matthew McConaughey
By Margeaux Klein,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2015 9:32 AM CDT
The real Matthew McConaughey arrives at the 28th annual American Cinematheque award ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
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(Newser) – Recovering from a serious brain injury is not always a straightforward process, especially for the following folks, who each emerged from a coma with personalities and language abilities very different than the ones they had before:

  • The man who thought he was Matthew McConaughey: After getting into a car accident in 2012, Rory Curtis, a 25-year-old man in the UK, woke up from a six-day coma and believed he was the actor. "When I went to the toilet I went to look in the mirror and I was shocked because I didn't look like him, I didn't know what I was looking at," he said. After enduring months of rehab and an experimental drug for his brain injury, it finally clicked for Rory that he was not, in fact, a major Hollywood star.
  • The Australian who could only speak Mandarin: Ben McMahon had studied Mandarin in high school but was far from fluent. However, after getting into a car crash, he woke up from a coma speaking nothing but Mandarin. While his English skills eventually recovered, McMahon later took advantage of his newfound Mandarin abilities by moving to Shanghai and co-hosting a Chinese TV show.
  • The toddler who took up drinking and smoking: Spending five days in a coma left a 3-year-old Chinese girl with the habits of a much older person. Ya Wen was a normal toddler prior to being hit by a speeding van, reported the NY Daily News in 2010. After she woke up from the coma, however, Ya Wen's mother claims the little girl's personality changed significantly and she started stealing cigarettes and drinking up to three glasses of beer at a time.

  • The grandfather who became a sex addict: An 81-year-old Swiss grandfather reportedly morphed into a sex addict after falling from a tree and slipping into a four-day coma, reported the Mirror in 2010. According to Angelo De Luca's son, Daniele, the "sex mad" senior citizen spent more than $4,000 at a brothel after recovering from the fall. Daniele suspected that the coma must have "wiped out" a brain function that inhibits sex drive; he took control of his dad's affairs.
  • The teen who became fluent in German: A 13-year-old girl in Croatia puzzled doctors and her family when she emerged from a 24-hour coma with the ability to only speak German and not her native Croatian. Reportedly, the girl had taken basic lessons in German but was still at a beginner level when she mysteriously fell ill.
  • The mother who thought she was a teen: When 32-year-old Sarah Thomson woke up from a 10-day coma in 2012, she thought it was 1998 and that she was 19 again, not a married mother of three. The Brit had no recollection of the prior 14 years, including personal memories like marrying her husband or world events like 9/11. "I had no idea who the kids were, I thought they were someone else’s," she told the Mirror.
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