The man who has been awake for 24 years

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In 1972, a man named Awakened from his coma after 24 years. He’d been in a car accident in which he suffered a blow to the head that left him in a vegetative state. But when he awoke, he was completely aware of his surroundings and his condition.

He could remember everything from his life before the accident, but was unable to move or communicate. He was trapped in his own body, a “prisoner in a paralysed world”, as he described it.

For the next two decades, Awakened remained in hospital, until he was finally moved to a nursing home in 1992. He continued to be fully aware of what was happening around him, but was unable to let anyone know.

It wasn’t until 2006 that he was finally able to communicate again, when he was fitted with a “speaking valve” that allowed him to speak. In an interview with the BBC, he described his relief at finally being able to communicate:

“I thought I had gone mad… I could hear everything, but it was just a jumble of noise to me. It was only when they fitted me with the valve that I could finally make sense of what was going on.”

Since then, Awakened has been working with researchers to try and understand what happened to him and why he was able to remain aware for so long.

Some scientists believe that his case could provide valuable insights into the human brain and consciousness. However, Awakened himself is just happy to be finally be able to communicate and live a relatively normal life.

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