Man Becomes Musical Genius After Head Injury in Pool: Fact Check

Picture Suggesting Man Becomes Musical Genius After Head Injury in a Swimming Pool
Man Becomes Musical Genius After Head Injury in a Swimming Pool


After hitting his head in the shallow end of a swimming pool, a man awoke with the condition known as acquired musical savant syndrome. He had become a great pianist without ever learning to play.

Other Versions

Derek Amato Becomes Musical Genius after Brain Injury.

Fact Check:

According to the story doing rounds on social media sites, a man named Derek Amato became a Musical Genius after suffering a head injury in a swimming pool. It is said that he woke up with a condition called acquired musical savant syndrome to become a Great Pianist without any prior knowledge of playing it. Although it sounds strange and unbelievable, the claims about Derek Amato and the acquired musical savant syndrome are indeed facts.

About the Accident and Aftermath

In October 2006, Colorado man Derek Amato suffered a major concussion (brain injury) after diving into the shallow end of a swimming pool while he was having fun with friends. Due to the head injury, Derek Amato lost 35 percent of his hearing, some of his memory that day, and continues to deal with headaches. On the other hand, he gained something remarkable. He became a musical genius because of what doctors called “acquired savant syndrome,” a rare condition. Few days after the accident, while visiting a friend, Derek felt inexplicably drawn to a keyboard. He started to play original music, beautiful and fully structured. Although Derek had never composed music before the incident, the music flowed effortlessly from his hands. He explained the amazing experience as below.

“My fingers began to scale the piano keys as if I had played all of my life. I can’t explain the feeling of awe that overcame my entire being, although I can tell you the expression on my friend’s face was enough to put us both in tears.”

Shown in the first video is an August 2013 TED Talk, where Derek Amato explained his amazing story of becoming a musical savant. The second video shows Derek’s interview with Steve Harvey on Good News. You can also see his beautiful musical performance with Mandy Harvey, a vocalist who tragically lost her hearing, but still performs using a visual tuner and vibrations to stay on key.

It is interesting to note, Derek Amato is one of just a few dozen known “accidental geniuses” or “sudden savants”. They are the people who survive severe head injuries and exhibit special gifts for music, math or art. The causes, mechanisms and processes that lead to these exceptional abilities are still under research. After his accident and miraculous transformation into a pianist, Derek Amato left the corporate world in order to pursue a musical career.

Hoax or Fact:



Derek Amato Becomes Musical Genius After Brain Injury: What Is Acquired Savant Syndrome? [VIDEO]

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Prashanth Damarla