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Concussions uncover athlete's hidden talents

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The now-junior in high school has emerged from his past injuries with a talent he never knew he had. (Source: KCNC/CNN) The now-junior in high school has emerged from his past injuries with a talent he never knew he had. (Source: KCNC/CNN)

DENVER (KCNC/CNN) - Concussions are an increasingly common issue for young athletes.

After being hospitalized with two concussions, a young student athlete was told he couldn't play contact sports any more.

But Lachlan Connors, the now-junior in high school, has emerged from his past injuries with a talent he never knew he had.

Lachlan's first passion was football and lacrosse.

"I thought I might be a professional lacrosse player," he said. "I remember getting up and feeling really dazed. I didn't really understand something bad had happened."

A series of concussions sent Lachlan to the hospital for weeks. Epileptic seizures followed.

"He started to hallucinate and had these mini hallucinations," said Elise Hamilton, Lachlan's mother.

Before the concussions, a young Lachlan had tried to play the piano. "He really had no talent," she said. "I would say, ‘Can't you hear what's next? Mary had a Little Lamb, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,' and he'd say no."

"I'd say, ‘Mom, I can't,' so I'd have her draw little numbers on the keys," he said. "I really didn't have any musical talent."

When Lachlan got out of the hospital, doctors said he shouldn't play contact sports anymore. But he suddenly could play music almost effortlessly.

Lachlan can now play the guitar, the mandolin, both Scottish and Irish bagpipes, the accordion and the karimba. "I play roughly 10 to 13 instruments," he said.

"This was not a small injury for him," said Dr. Spyridon Papadopoulos, Lachlan's doctor.

It's as if those concussions turned on a new part of his brain, according to his doctor.

"The thought is just theory that this was a talent laying latent in his brain and somehow was uncovered by his brain rewiring after the injury," Papadopoulos said.

He plays solely by ear. "I can't read music," he said.

He no longer has epileptic seizures. He finds comfort that his seizures were the same and rare sort experienced by famous composer Frederic Chopin.

"I honestly think something got rewired, something just changed, and thank God it did," Lachlan said.

No one can say with absolute certainty that Lachlan's medical problems led to his musical prowess. But this young musician is incredibly grateful for a gift he hopes will now stay with him for life.

Lachlan now says he wants to be a professional musician.

Copyright 2013 KCNC via CNN. All rights reserved.

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