December 19, 2013

“Rewired” after Concussion?


Tom: Usually when you think of a concussion, you think of headaches, blurred vision, trouble sleeping, and all the bad effects that come with it, right? Well, for one high school junior in Denver, Colorado, a string of concussions unlocked a hidden talent he never knew he had.

This high school ensemble is really impressive. But the story behind the pianist is truly amazing. Photos show Lachlan Connors’ first passion: football and lacrosse.

Lachlan Connors: I thought I might be a professional lacrosse player. And I fell backwards and I hit the back of my head on the ground. I didn’t really understand that something bad had happened.

Tom: A series of concussions sent Lachlan to the hospital for weeks. Seizures followed.

Mrs. Conners: He started to hallucinate and have these mini hallucinations.

Tom: Before the concussions, a young Lachlan had tried to play piano.

Mrs. Conners: He really had no talent. I would say, ‘Can’t you hear what’s next?’ You know, something like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. And he said no.

Lachlan: And I said, ‘Mom, I can’t.’ And so I’d have her draw little numbers on the keys.

Tom: When Lachlan got out of the hospital, doctors said he shouldn’t play contact sports anymore. But he suddenly could play music almost effortlessly. Lachlan can now play the guitar, the bagpipes – both Scottish and Irish ones, the mandolin, the accordion, the karimba.

Lachlan: I play roughly 10 to 13.

Doctor: This was not a small injury for him.

Tom: It is as if those concussions turned on a new part of his brain, according to his doctor.

Doctor: The thought is this was a talent that was laying latent in his brain and somehow was uncovered by his brain rewiring after the injury.

Tom: He plays completely by ear.

Lachlan: I can’t read music.

Tom: And he no longer has seizures. He finds comfort that his seizures were the same and rare sort experienced by famous composer Frederic Chopin.

Lachlan: I honestly think something got rewired and something just changed, and thank God it did.

Tom: No one can say with absolute certainty that Lachlan’s medical problems led to his musical abilities. But this young musician is incredibly grateful for a gift he hopes will now stay with him for life.

Now, it is also safe to assume that Lachlan Connors’ practice contributed to his musical skills, but nonetheless, pretty incredible!


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