Hidden Talent Unleashed

A miraculous encounter with a 30-foot steel camera boom

Posted Sep 09, 2013

Patrick Fagerberg had been a successful lawyer for 13 years when he suffered a traumatic brain injury. He was attending an Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark concert on March 19, 2011 in Austin, Texas when a 30-foot steel camera boom fell into the crowd. In the footage below Patrick is the person the boom hits directly on the head:

What Patrick acquired from the tragic encounter with the steel camera boom is called “savant syndrome.” The leading expert on savant syndrome, Darold A. Treffert, M.D., characterizes savant syndrome as a condition in which a person develops extraordinary mathematical, linguistic or artistic talents as a consequence of a brain defect.

The chief hypothesis is that savant syndrome is caused by a brain lesion or birth defect in the brain’s left hemisphere that results in overcompensation by the brain’s right hemisphere. This may allow stereotypical right-hemisphere skills, such as artistic and musical skills and unrestrained or irrational decision-making, to flourish. An alternative but related hypothesis is that we all have the skills of savants but that they are not developed very much because the left hemisphere dominates the average person’s brain activity. Typical left hemisphere skills are thought to include the ability to reason and make rational decisions and to evaluate logical and mathematical problems. So in most people it appears to be a strong adherence to reason and logic that somehow suppresses dormant abilities that we all have in areas of drawing, painting and music.