Real-life superhero who became a genius after getting violently attacked
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Featured Image Credit: TEDx Talks / YouTube / Tribune Content Agency LLC / Alamy Stock Photo
Most superheroes gain their powers after enduring a somewhat traumatic experience.
And it seems that a real-life superhero has certainly followed suit with this theory after gaining some seriously genius skills once he was violently attacked. You can see Jason Padgett's explanation of his condition here:
Jason Padgett was attacked on Friday 13 September 2002 outside a karaoke bar in Tacoma, Washington.
Padgett was robbed and assaulted outside the bar, taking his leather jacket and ‘smashing’ him in the back of his head and punching his abdomen.
He told the BBC: “I saw this puff of white light just like someone took a picture. The next thing I knew I was on my knees and everything was spinning and I didn’t know where I was or how I got there.”
The former futon salesperson managed to make it to a hospital over the road where he was diagnosed with a concussion and a bleeding kidney following the unprovoked attack he sustained.
“They gave me a shot of pain medication and sent me home,” he recalled on BBC’s The Outlook Podcast.
But after he got home, Padgett’s new behaviours started to arise as a result of a traumatic brain injury, which brought on obsessive compulsive disorder.
Jason became scared of the world outside the comfort of his home and only ever left to buy food.
He said: “I just remember nailing blankets and towels over all the windows in the house… I remember actually using this spray foam and gluing the front door shut.”
In turn, the OCD then caused Jason to become a germaphobe, which cause friction in his relationship with his daughter, who he looked after during a custody battle with his ex-partner.
He said: "When she would come over I would obsessively wash my hands and clean.
“The very first thing I would want to do is get her shoes off, get her into clean clothes, wash her hands.”
But as a result of his brain injury, he was able to tap into something incredible.
Jason became obsessed with maths and was able to comprehend such complicated concepts that he’s been dubbed a ‘genius’.
This passion for numbers was completely new to him. He said: “I was very shallow [before the attack].
“Life rotated around girls, partying, drinking, waking up with a hangover and then going out and chasing girls and going out to bars again.”
He even has the ability to draw repeated geometric patterns, or fractals, by hand - a rare skill.
Jason has been hypothesised as having synaesthesia, in which senses of the brain become mixed up. His synaesthesia may have made Jason an acquired savant.
Scientists have found that when neurons die - potentially as a result of a physical trauma like Jason's - they can release chemicals that increase brain activity in the surrounding areas, which in rare cases can result in structural changes in the brain.
After initially speaking about his desire to get into teaching, Padgett now works as a visual artist, capturing the complex visual shapes he witnesses in the world through his drawings.
He has also delivered several TED Talks about his experiences and wrote a memoir, Struck By Genius.