10 People Who Gained Genius from Brain Damage
What creates a genius? Is it simply a function of having the right brain patterns, or is there a deeper mechanism at work? Just as savants like Daniel Tammet and Alonso Clemons demonstrate superhuman mastery in certain subjects, there have been people throughout history who gained extraordinary abilities from freak accidents. Unfortunately, genius often comes at a price.
It’s a question that’s puzzled scientists and philosophers alike since the dawn of history.
In 2006, a nightmare became real. Derek Amato, a resident of Denver, Colorado, dove into a pool and struck his head on the shallow bottom. He blacked out and woke up in the hospital, disoriented and terrified. It’s the kind of accident every parent fears, an accident that leaves most paralyzed.
And Derek wasn’t immune to the dangers. His head injury left him with massive hearing loss, chronic headaches, and memory problems that still persist to this day. Yet Derek considers the accident the best thing that’s ever happened to him, because it also turned him into a musical prodigy.
In the days after the accident, Derek began to see moving black and white shapes, a “continuous stream of musical notation” flowing behind his closed eyelids. Even though Derek had never been musically inclined, he suddenly had the ability to sit down at a piano and play intricate pieces that take most people years to perfect. Although he doesn’t understand his ability, he says that he’s grateful for it every day.