Few are so lucky following an incident resulting in a concussion. One man who suffered a traumatic brain injury six years ago found afterwards that he suffered from headaches and had impaired hearing. But the strange thing was that he also suddenly became a full-fledged musical genius, which he had not been before. Many people in Illinois and nationwide who have heard his story marvel at it.
He still is unable to read sheet music, and never took piano lessons, but has been able to work as a piano player professionally, greatly entertaining people with his music. His accident happened when he smashed his head into the side of a swimming pool. In addition to a 35 percent hearing loss, he experienced some loss of memory.
Before he discovered his musical talent, he was at a friend's house where there was a piano present. He felt strangely drawn to sit down and try to play, and to everyone's surprise, especially his own, he played beautifully. This unusual fluke illustrates just how significantly the brain can be modified by an accident, much more commonly for the worse.
When he plays the piano, he moves his fingers with great dexterity, and seems to know, as if by instinct, just what to do. A doctor believes that the injury altered the chemistry of his brain, making him a musical savant. He characterized this as entirely unique, as the overwhelming majority of people who injure their brains do not suddenly become musicians, but instead suffer physical and cognitive difficulties.
His gift has come at a price though, which includes a sensitivity to viewing fluorescent lights which is so pronounced that sometimes it causes him to unexpectedly collapse, risking further injury. The severe migraine headaches and hearing loss which plague his life exact a heavy toll. But he is very lucky that something good did emerge from his misfortune.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Derek Amato, Denver Man, Becomes Musical Genius After Head Injury," June 7, 2012