Teenager Credits Musical Talent to Head Injury

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DeGeorgia said that one study of soccer players who'd had multiple concussions found that nerve signals traveled differently throughout their brains after they'd endured many blows to the head.

DeGeorgia described the brain as a complex system of neural circuits. If one circuit is changed by injury, "it will affect the others," said DeGeorgia.

"There's no musical center in the brain. It's very complex and comes from all parts into the brain," said DeGeorgia. "It's possible that subtle changes ... recalibrations in circuits could lead to improvement in musical skills or latent musicality."

Steven Camarata, a professor of psychiatry and of hearing and speech science at Vanderbilt University, said that Connor's young age might have also helped him develop musical ability so quickly after his injury.

"[The brain is] much more flexible than we ever imagined. A kid like this who gets his head hit and has a couple of seizures can excel at something else," said Camarata. "If we didn't have that plasticity we couldn't [recover]. ... From age 3 to adolescence, there's a lot of flexibility in the brain."

For Connors, music has helped him fill the void left when he gave up contact sports, although his mother said he still enjoyed playing the FIFA video game on Xbox.

"We look at it like this, God closed one door and opened a window," said Hamilton. "He got locked out of sports and all of a sudden he had something else that was cool and extraordinary."

Hockey Hits Can Lead to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

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