Australian man wakes from coma speaking fluent Mandarin but had completely forgotten English
The Australian man who woke from a coma after a horrifying car crash speaking fluent MANDARIN (but had completely forgotten English)
Ben McMahon was the passenger of a car that was involved in a car crash
The 22-year-old was in a coma for more than a week before he woke up
He had only learned Mandarin at school and was never fluent in it
The Melbournian is now studying commerce at a Shanghai university
Two years ago Ben McMahon woke up from a coma more than a week after a horrific car crash that almost claimed his life only being able to speak Mandarin.
The 22-year-old remembers how he woke up and saw a nurse who looked Asian standing by his bed and said to her ‘Excuse me nurse, I feel really sore here’ in Chinese.
He then asked the nurse for a piece of paper and pen and he wrote on it in Mandarin: ‘I love my mum, I love my dad, I will recover.’
In 2010, a 13-year-old Croatian girl woke up had replaced her fluency in her native language with speaking German.
More recently, a U.S. navy veteran was found unconscious in a motel room and had no recollection of who he was and spoke fluent Swedish in July 2013.
But a Queensland Brain Institute neuroscientist thinks he might have an explanation about what happened to Ben.
Dr Pankaj Sah said the brain was made up of different circuits – which assist in language, breathing, speaking and thinking – similar to electronic circuits.
According to him, what possibly happened to Ben was that the parts of the brain that recalled English were damaged in the crash and those that retained Mandarin were activated when the 22-year-old woke up from his coma.