A semi-professional footballer who suffered severe injuries after he was involved in a car accident woke up from his medically induced coma to speak to his nurse in fluent French.
Rory Curtis, 25, from Worcestershire, was involved in an incident on the M42 where his van flipped over and five vehicles careered into it in August 2012, the Daily Mail reports.
Doctors discovered he was suffering from a multifocal intracranial brain haemorrhage, which meant he was suffering from bleeding on the brain.
He was also treated at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital for a broken pelvis after the collision.
Not only did he awake from his coma to start conversing with his Africa nurse in fluent French with an impeccable accent, despite not even studying the language for most of his time at school, he was also convinced he was actor Matthew McConaughey.
“I cannot remember much but I know in my head I thought I was Matthew McConaughey,” he said. “When I went to the toilet I went to look in the mirror and I was shocked because I didn’t look like him, I didn’t know what I was looking at.”
“Then slowly over time it eventually clicked and I thought ‘he is an actor, what am I on about?
“But at times I was in hospital thinking I can’t wait to get out of here and back to filming movies. I was convinced I was him and that I had his good looks as well – I know it was hopeful thinking really.”
When he finally left hospital he no longer believed he was the American actor but was still able to speak in fluent French, and two years later he still can.
“I can’t explain how it happened. It’s incredible really. I don’t remember coming round but my family said one of the nurses was from Africa and spoke French and I was having conversations with her.
“I was just casually chatting away about how I was feeling in this perfect French accent.
“My mum and dad were stunned when they got to hospital and the nurse asked them what side of the family was French.”
Mr Curtis believes his recovery, which has resulted in him learning to walk again after only two months and even allowed him to reach a standard to make his old football squad at Stourport Swifts FC, is down to an experimental drug.
The treatment was initially developed after drawing on the expertise by the Ministry of Defence who were faced with a growing situation of seriously injured soldiers from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts surviving their injuries.
He was signed up to the programme after his family were approached by the National Institute for Health and Research Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology research centre. He was only the second person to have the treatment and the success of his recovery will bring hope to other victims of such injuries and their families.
But Luke Griggs, a spokesman for brain injury association Headway, warned other sufferers not to get their hopes up despite the great progress made by Mr Curtis.
“The reality for most [patients] is that the recovery journey from a brain injury can arduous and last a lifetime with patients often faced with having to relearn the most basic of life skills,” he said.