An English-only-speaking Australian man who fell into a coma after a 2012 car accident woke up speaking fluent Mandarin.
While he studied Mandarin in school, Ben McMahon, 22, only knew basic words and was far from fluent. After waking from his coma, it took McMahon several days to remember how to speak his native language of English, reports Inquisitr.
McMahon's parents told ABC News after the accident they were uncertain whether their son would ever wake up from the two-year coma.
This rare result of a coma may be explained by the electrical circuits in the brain, Neurosurgeon Dr. Pankaj Sah explains to IJ Review. The doctor says when McMahon entered the coma after the car accident, his English circuits were damaged and his Mandarin circuits became engaged when he awoke.
Sah adds that this explanation was never proven, but he believes it's a likely cause of the language change.
Since McMahon's recovery, he is using his new-found Mandarin skills to co-host a Chinese TV show, lead Mandarin tours of Melbourne and is attending a Shanghai university. His new Mandarin-speaking friends tell IJ Review they never heard a better non-native speaker of the language.
Although his sudden fluency in Mandarin is seemingly unexplainable, history suggests there may be a link hidden somewhere between language skills and comas.
U.S. Navy veteran Michael Boatwright awoke from a coma in July 2013 speaking fluent Swedish. In 2010, a 13-year-old Croatian girl awoke from a coma with a fluency in German, according to Inquisitr.