Most people who develop medical conditions due to unforeseen diseases or accidents have a much more difficult time later in life. It doesn’t matter how severe the condition is, they have to give up on a part of their former lives to accommodate it.
However, throughout history, a few people have acquired extraordinary skills because of their medical conditions, and science still doesn’t understand how it works. Take a look below for 8 people that gained incredible skills through injury and disease.
1. Derek Amato
Derek Amato is a composer and pianist who received a head injury on October 27, 2006, and subsequently became a musical savant. He is the only known musical savant to have developed a savant syndrome through a brain injury.
At the age of 39, Amato dove into a shallow swimming pool and hit his head, resulting in a major concussion and 35% haring loss. Although he had played the guitar prior to his injury, the level of his musical ability suddenly progressed to the point where he was able to compose for piano.
He has been diagnosed as experiencing a form of synaesthesia.
2. Franco Magnani
Born in 1934, Franco Magnani grew up in a small village in the Tuscany region of Italy called Pontito. Like many places in Europe at that time, it was destroyed by the Nazis in World War II, and it still hasn’t recovered. After working there as a woodworker, Magnani eventually moved to San Francisco in his 30s.
Soon after moving, he got a mysterious illness that gave him powerful, delirious hallucinations about his hometown. When he recovered, he found that he had developed an exceptional ability to draw anything from memory, especially scenes from his early life in Pontito.
3. Leigh Erceg
While working on a family ranch in Brown’s Park, Colorado, Leigh fell down a ravine and the resulting brain and spine injuries left Leigh a different woman. Once an athlete and college student who loved NASCAR and riding ATV’s, she’s now an avid artist, poet and mathematician.
Erceg has synethesia, a neurological phenomenon in which patients experience sensory information in atypical ways, such as “hearing” colors and “seeing” sounds. She has been diagnosed as the only currently known female acquired savant.
Erceg may not remember her life before the accident, but she has created a new world for herself, full of art, music and captivating stories that draw in a wide community of friends, art collectors and fascinated onlookers.
4. Ken Walters
Before gaining his incredible skills, Walters was an engineer. In 1986, he had an accident. He was 30 years old and working at a farm when an out of control fork lift crushed him against a wall. He suffered horrific injuries including spine fractures.
The accident not only took his capability to walk again, he also suffered financially because of the accident. The stress of these events ended in another two strokes as well. It’s believed that the second stroke transformed him into a superhuman.
After the attack, Walters found a compulsion to start scribbling away on the writing pad that he had in the hospital for communicating with other people. This is despite never having any interest in drawing or doodling before.
When he came back home from the hospital, he began making digital artwork on his computer. His artwork was amazing and he became a very popular artist. Even today, reputed companies buy his artwork for their offices.
5. Jim Carollo
At 14 years old, Carollo was involved in a severe auto accident and even spent some days in a coma. The injury was so serious that the doctors thought that he wouldn’t make it. Not only did he survive and fully recover within a few months, but he also developed a skill for math.
He scored a perfect 100 on his next geometry test without studying, which was surprising because he had never been particularly good at math before the accident. He became especially proficient at remembering numbers and can now recite anything from phone numbers, credit card numbers, old locker combinations and the first 200 digits of pi just from memory.
6. Lachlan Connors
Connors was a junior at a private high school and loves music more than anything. However, when he was younger, it was clear that Connors didn’t have a knock for music.
Things changed when Connors was in sixth grade and he sustained a concussion while playing on his recreational lacrosse team. He began exhibiting some concerning behaviors, but his parents took him to a doctor and they gave him the okay to return to the field.
Another hard hit or two sent Connors to the hospital for weeks, and epileptic seizures followed. When he got out of the hospital, doctors said that he shouldn’t play contact sports anymore. This was a heart-breaker for Connors, but in the wake of that disappointment, Connors found that he suddenly could play music almost effortlessly.
7. Pip Taylor
Taylor became a local celebrity in her hometown of Birkenhead, Liverpool, England, when a brain injury left her with an incredible ability to draw. By her own admission, Taylor was a “terrible artist” before the accident but had nevertheless loves drawing since s he was a child.
The 49 year old suffered serious bruising to her brain after tripping and cracking her head on a flight of stairs at Chester racecourse in May, 2012. Doctors told Taylor that she would need six months to recover.
Fearing that she would be bored, she bought a sketch pad to pass the time and discovered that the accident had left her an incredible gift; she could not draw incredibly well.
8. Ric Owens
In 2011, Ric Owens was a professional chef with a successful career. When his car was hit by a truck on the highway, he didn’t think much of it as he didn’t have any immediate symptoms. Within a week, though, he started getting migraines and his speech began to slur. He was soon diagnosed with post-concussive syndrome and found that he was no longer interested in making food. Instead, he was now into abstract geometric art.
Although neither he nor the doctors could explain how it happened, he could suddenly make art with anything he found around the house. He has about 100 pieces lying around the house now, made with everything from ceiling tiles, pallets, lamps and glass.