MIAMI, Fla. — When Reuben Nsemoh woke up from a three-day coma in Georgia, he was speaking Spanish instead of English. He had never spoken the language before.
A player kicked the 16-year-old goalie from Brookwood High School (Snellville, Ga.) in the head when he dived for the ball. And Reuben was having seizures before paramedics put him in a helicopter to rush him to the hospital.
Traumatic brain injuries can cause short and long term changes in language, according to TBI researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Reuben said he has a lot of Spanish-speaking friends, who speak the language when he is around. He believes this might have had something to do with the strange episode that shocked and confused his parents.
“My friends would always talk to me in Spanish and would teach me,” he told WSB. “I wasn’t perfect, but my brother is a really fluent Spanish speaker. So he kind of inspired me with that too.”
As he recovered, Reuben started to speak English again, and he later talked to reporters while recovering at home.
“Sometimes I daze out,” Reuben told a WSBTV reporter. “Sometimes I feel like I am not there, but I am.”
His parents said it was his third concussion but he said he hopes to return to the field. He said he doesn’t plan to wear a helmet.
“It’s my passion. It’s the one thing I want to do for my career,” Nsemoh said.
A family friend set up a GoFundMe account to help Reuben’s parents.