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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Accident leaves basketball player with no memory

   
Author Topic: Accident leaves basketball player with no memory
Tara
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quote:
On Oct. 26, Hutcheson and another girl were "pressing," running full-court defenses, the coach explained. "She and another girl were running full speed toward another girl who had the ball ... both were just looking at the ball."

And - snap - the two runners met head-on, face to face in the most literal sense.

quote:
At the apartment, however, the situation immediately became more clear, she said. "She didn't know me, even though her roommates had told her I was coming. I started asking her questions and she didn't know anything. She couldn't read, she barely talked."

When Hazeltine got Hutcheson out of bed, the young woman couldn't walk without holding on to something.

When Hutcheson spoke, it was in the voice and diction of a little child.

Things got worse. "I took her to her room and showed her pictures on her wall and she didn't know anyone," Hazeltine said, still incredulous six weeks later. "I asked her parents' names, her siblings ... she shrugged at every question I asked."

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This is the craziest thing. It sends chills down my spine. Imagine having to be reintroduced to your family, your hometown, all your friends. Imagine all the things you learn in 18 years, all erased.
It's confuses me though... because it keeps saying "total memory loss" but obviously it wasn't total because she could still speak English (or did she have to relearn it? I'm not sure) and because apparently she still goes to classes and "does well in school". But how could she take college level classes if she had forgotten everything she learned in grade school? It doesn't make sense.
(I apologize for the badly written article, it was the only one I could find. Also, I'm not sure about the religious thing at the end, it appears to be in regular secular newspapers).

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Teshi
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It sounds as if her brain is like a network of roads and she lost everything that had maybe one road going to it but not to things that were more broad, like being able to speak basic English and ultimately remember how to read and write, albeit poorly.

I suspect the "total memory loss" is part of the bad writing.

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Scott R
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A really good friend's husband suffered something similar after a car wreck. He remembered their marriage, but not their daughter; he didn't recall the past year very well at all.

Scary stuff. The brain is a wacky thing.

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Uprooted
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I knew a guy in college who had some weird memory loss after some incident where he passed out. His memory went to somewhere in high school, after that it was all lost. He didn't remember any of us that he'd met at school.

His personality was different, too. Waaay less cynical/sarcastic than he had been. I wish I knew what became of him.

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Flying Fish
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Did you "remind" him that he owed you $100?
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Noemon
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I remember watching a documentary about a pianist who experienced an intense headache, after which he lost all ability to form new longterm memories. His memory of everything that happened prior to the headache was completely normal; it was as though he existed in ROM. If I recall correctly, when he was playing the piano his memory would last for the duration of the performance, but wouldn't be stored. His diary consisted entirely of entries reading "I have only just awoken", or something to that effect, and when the previous entries were pointed out to him he would become extremely agitated (though only for a few minutes, of course).
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Stray
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Noemon, I think I remember reading about that guy in Oliver Sacks's book Musicophilia. Fascinating stuff.
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plaid
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I knew a woman this kind of thing happened to. She was hit by a car when she was ~20, and lost her memory; tabula rasa, lost all memories of her life and other people. She had to learn how to do everything again (took her about a year to get back to speed).

She said she thought she was happier for having had the accident -- that'd she'd been unhappy, doing drugs, etc. before the accident. I didn't know her old self, but her new self was very calm and centered (she'd become a Waldorf teacher).

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Tara
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quote:
Originally posted by plaid:


She said she thought she was happier for having had the accident -- that'd she'd been unhappy, doing drugs, etc. before the accident. I didn't know her old self, but her new self was very calm and centered (she'd become a Waldorf teacher).

Wow, that's interesting. It almost makes me wonder if I wouldn't be happier without childhood memories distorting how I see the world and myself. But I also feel like I've learned a LOT from those memories, and not the kind of thing you could just relearn in a while, like language or math.
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Raymond Arnold
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What does it say about me that the first thing I thought of when I saw this title was Space Jam?
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Elmer's Glue
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It says that you like AWESOME movies.
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Raymond Arnold
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Good. That's what I thought, I just wanted to make sure.
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Starsnuffer
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There was a kid at my highschool who fell playing basketball and had pretty total amnesia for a few days, but his memory then came back as his injuries healed.

Memory is weird. It's usually broken up into a few categories: semantic memories (facts, essentially), episodic memories. It's possible to lose only one of these and keep the other, and things like that. There is also explicit and implicit learning. Learning how to throw a ball a certain place is implicit learning and much more immune to amnesia than explicit learning which is things like state capitols and the like. There are studies on amnesia patients who have learned to play tetris (they do better over time, after more exposure to it, despite having absolutely no explicit memory of it) Priming effects have also been shown in antergrade amnesiacs. After seeing slides of the moon they are more likely to say things like their favorite laundry detergent is tide. The moral here is that memory is not a single unit, it is split up and problems in one part of memory doesn't necessarily mean you will forget something as fundamental as walking though you may have forgotten the names of everything around you.

Also interesting is that people who lose their memory often lose it for a couple years before the event causing their memory loss. It is believed that there are different storing methods, essentially, for memories that have occurred within the past year or two, than those from farther in the past.

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