Brain Trauma and Language

foreign accent syndromeCan you imagine waking up and suddenly speaking an entirely different language?! For one Georgia teenager, this is exactly what happened.

After sustaining a serious head injury during a soccer game, the teenager was in a coma for three days. Thankfully, he woke up, but with one small complication— he now speaks Spanish, a language he didn’t speak before! While recovering, he regained his English-speaking skills, but the Spanish still lingers, as do the questions.

Foreign Accent Syndrome

Changes in language after a brain injury are chalked up to a rare condition called Foreign Accent Syndrome. It is caused by brain injuries, strokes, brain tumors, brain hemorrhaging, or anything else that affects the part of the brain that controls speech. Unlike Apraxia of Speech, another condition which can hinder speech and language abilities, people with Foreign Accent Syndrome still retain their communication skills. The only difference is the accent. Oftentimes, someone with the condition will still speak their native language, but will just speak with a foreign accent.

In one of the first reported cases of Foreign Accent Syndrome, a Norwegian woman struck by shrapnel during World War II was left speaking with a heavy German accent. Most recently, a woman from Texas began speaking with a British-sounding accent following jaw surgery. The changes in speech may last weeks, months, or in some cases, become permanent.

Head Injury Prevention

Plenty of us want to learn a new language, but a head injury is not exactly the best route to take! To avoid head injuries, always wear proper equipment (especially helmets!) when playing sports like football, baseball, and soccer. If you have suffered a concussion in the past, be aware of the long-term damages. Take precautions to prevent further damage. As you can see, there are unknown and strange dangers of head trauma. Read the interesting stories about Foreign Accent Syndrome, but don’t become a victim yourself.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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