A barber told yesterday how he woke up from a coma following a horror car crash speaking fluent FRENCH – and thinking he was Matthew McConaughey.
Rory Curtis, 25, suffered horrific injuries after the vehicle he was driving hit a lorry before six cars ploughed into the side him during torrential rain on the M42.
Firefighters battled to free him from the wreckage for 40 minutes at the scene in Tamworth, Staffs., before he was then airlifted hospital.
Doctors found he had suffered a multifocal intracranial brain haemorrhage, which meant his blood vessels had burst and blood was leaking into his brain.
The promising semi-pro footballer remained in a coma at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital for six days while medics battled round the clock to save his life.
Incredibly, when he finally came round Rory started speaking to nurses in fluent French – despite not studying the language since school.
In his head he had also convinced himself he was Hollywood A-list actor Matthew McConaughey.
Rory, from Redditch, Worcs., said: “It’s quite bizarre to say the least.
“I didn’t even do French at GCSE so haven’t studied it since Year 9 – then all of a sudden I’m fluent in it.
“I can’t explain how it happened. It’s incredible really.
“I don’t remember coming round but my family said one of the nurses was from Africa and spoke French and I was having conversations with her.
“I was just casually chatting away about how I was feeling in this perfect French accent.
“My mum and dad were stunned when they got to hospital and the nurse asked them what side of the family was French.
“And then I was sitting there spouting a foreign language from my hospital bed acting all French in their sort of arrogant yet sophisticated way. It wasn’t me at all.
“I wasn’t really that good at it at school, so I don’t how my brain has managed to do what is has. I don’t know how I know it – I just do.
“Also, in my head I thought I was Matthew McConaughey.
“When I went to the toilet I went to look in the mirror and I was shocked because I didn’t look like him, I didn’t know what I was looking at.
“Then slowly over time it eventually clicked and I thought “he is an actor, what am I on about?
“But at times I was in hospital thinking I can’t wait to get out of here and back to filming movies.
“I was convinced I was him and that I had his good looks as well – I know it was hopeful thinking really.”
Rory was treated with an experimental drug after his family were approached by the National Institute for Health Research Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology Research Centre.
He became only the second person in Britain to have the treatment – which drew upon the Ministry of Defence’s expertise with injured soldiers.
He made a miraculous recovery and was allowed home just two months after the accident in August 2012 but faced months of rehab.
Now he has now retrained as a barber and is learning to teach hairdressing himself while he works at his aunt’s salon in Birmingham.
Rory, who had trials with Manchester United at the age of 14, said he is convinced his recovery is down to the experimental drug.
He added: “I feel it made a difference to me.
“Because I don’t remember the crash, it doesn’t feel like I’ve had a brain injury. Apart from obviously being able to now speak French.
“The accident changed my outlook on life. I can’t leave the house now without telling everyone I love them and giving them a hug.
“I know with a click of your fingers, it could all be over, because life is fragile. There’s no point in wasting any time.”
Mum Vera, 57, said: “He is so lucky to be alive. When I saw him, I felt the most despair at not being able to help him.
“He didn’t look like my Rory. He was always so fit and now he looked like a little old man. His hip was smashed to pieces. The bone had crumbled away.
“It was a real roller-coaster. We thought we would lose him.
“Then all of a sudden he wakes up and he’s speaking French.
“This nurse was from Africa and spoke French – she asked us what side of the family was from France, as his accent was so good.
“Well I told her none of us. She not believe it. The brain really is an incredible thing, nobody has quite been able to explain why it has happened.”