Reorganizing a Damaged Mind

The human body has strange and wonderful ways of compensating for misfortune…sometimes, in the ways you’d least expect.

After sustaining a severe concussion from a backyard injury, Derek Amato thought his life was going to be one of loss, deprivation and consistent headaches. Then one day, while hanging out with a friend, he found himself inadvertently gravitating toward his friend’s piano…

…and playing it.

Derek was an average guy who had worked a series of average jobs. He had never played piano before, or even wanted to. But that night at his friend’s house, he spent six hours improvising songs, playing with as much skill and emotion as if he’d been doing it all his life.

Reorganizing a Damaged MindHow Does This Happen?

The more you look for stories like Derek’s, the more you find. A patient with a newfound facility for sculpting. Another with a preternatural ability to name the day of the week for any given date in history. Yet another brain injury victim who discovers a mistake in the accepted calculation of pi.

It’s called “acquired savant syndrome,” and no, it doesn’t put brain injury victims in the same category as Rain Man. Rather, it’s an effect of the brain rushing to recollect the pieces scattered by trauma and reorganizing them in a way that’s different from before.

Some things get lost in this reorganization, such as memories or certain motor skills. But, sometimes, some things—things no one ever imagined—are won.

Talents Within All of Us

It’s not only victims of sudden trauma who experience this. Even some Alzheimer’s disease patients have been observed to acquire talents seemingly overnight.

Doctors studying these cases say it seems as if there’s a genius in all of us, just waiting to be unleashed. In the case of Derek Amato, his doctors speculate that his brain reorganized itself so that it no longer filters sensory input. Than is, instead of only hearing complete melodies, he can hear individual notes and can reproduce them in patterns of his own devising.

From Popular Science:

“… the areas ravaged by disease—those associated with logic, verbal communication, and comprehension—have actually been inhibiting latent artistic abilities present in those people all along. As the left brain goes dark, the circuits keeping the right brain in check disappear. The skills do not emerge as a result of newly acquired brain power; they emerge because for the first time, the areas of the right brain associated with creativity can operate unchecked.”

Help for Brain Injury Victims

There’s no getting around the devastation of brain injury, especially when it results in long-term health challenges. Nevertheless, we at the Brain Injury Law Center share stories like this to show how being a victim once doesn’t mean you have to stay a victim. We are attorneys who represent brain injury victims and help them seek justice and a brighter future after an injury. With the right help, you may be able to receive compensation to cover the medical support that you need to unlock your potential.

Contact us today for a free consultation by calling (757) 244-7000.

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