A student from Gwinnett County, Georgia, suffered a head injury on the football pitch and woke up speaking fluent Spanish. Last month 16-year-old Reuben Nsemoh, a sophomore at Brookwood High School, was kicked in a head playing goalkeeper for his team. It was the worst concussion his coach Bruno Kalonji has ever seen in one of his players.
“The ambulance came and they said he was having seizures because he might have bleeding in his brain,” he says.
Nsemoh was in a coma for three days. When he awoke, he was unable to speak English. But found he could communicate in Spanish.
“My friends would always talk to me in Spanish and would teach me,” he said.
Even though he never really spoke the language before, Nsemoh could do so fluently.
He figures his subconscious remembered the words that now seemingly come naturally to him.
“I wasn’t perfect, but my brother is a really fluent Spanish speaker. So he kind of inspired me with that too.”
It is the third concussion for the teen. But once he fully recovers, he hopes to get back on the pitch again.
“It’s my passion. It’s the one thing I want to do for my career,” says Nsemoh.
But Kalonji says he won’t do so on his team without a helmet.
He believes all goalkeepers should be required to wear one.
“This can happen even at practice. And if kids already have two concussions or three, it’s recommended that they wear one,” he says.
Nsemoh’s parents are thankful he is recovering.
“He’s a fighter. He tells me, ‘Mom I’ll do well. I’m okay’,” says Dorah Nsemoh.
The family says the medical bills so far have topped $200,000.
Both his mother and father are grateful to the Brookwood community for rallying around.