A Gwinnett County student survives a head injury on the soccer field and wakes up speaking fluent Spanish.
Last month 16-year-old Reuben Nsemoh, a sophomore at Brookwood High School, was kicked in a head playing goalie for his travel soccer 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 tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.
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 field 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 goalies 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.
While Nsemoh’s parents have always supported education over sports, they understand they may not be able to keep their son from returning to the field. But they are thankful he is recovering.
“He’s a fighter. He tells me, ‘Mom I’ll do well. I’m O.K.’,” says Dorah Nsemoh.
Both his mother and father are grateful to his KSA team and the Brookwood community for rallying around the family. Their medical bills are mounting and a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with their expenses.