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Head Injury Transforms Man Into Mathematical Genius
TACOMA, Wash. -- An assault outside a bar in 2002 has dramatically changed the way a man's brain works.
At first, Jason Padgett's recovery from a severe concussion and kidney damage was crippling and he struggled to cope. He became withdrawn and spent years alone in his home.
Padgett, now 32, began experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress and obessive-complusive disorders as a result of the injuries. Beyond those injuries, however, he realized he wasn't the same.
"I was one of those kids that said, 'When are you going to use math and how can that apply in the real world?'" Padgett said. "Now, I can't believe I ever said that."
Padgett says he see things differently since the assault.
"I started seeing things as pixels, small squares, like the kind that would make up a TV screen," said Padgett, who spent years of therapy adjusting to what was happening to him.
He would see life as if it was being presented to him in a grid -- lines and all. He started to draw what he saw in ways a mathematician or physicist could understand, in fractals.
With the help of professionals, he began to realize that he wasn't going crazy, but that his brain injury had given him the ability to understand mathematics, even the most complex concepts, although he's had no high-level math training.
He's now co-authored a book, "Struck by Genius," that chronicles his transformation from furniture salesman to a person still trying to come to grips with a talent he didn't know he had until he was beaten up.
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