Brain injury survivor says learning to DJ has “reawakened his brain”

“I’ve got a superpower,” says David Wilson.

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DJ using controller from Getty Images

DJ using controller. Image: Getty Images

Brain injury survivor David Wilson has spoken about how learning to DJ has “really awakened his brain”.

The 38-year-old was injured after being stabbed in his right eye in an unprovoked attack in 2005, with the blade penetrating his brain. He is now taking lessons to be a drum and bass DJ under the mentorship of Wiltshire DJ Emma Ryalls.

Speaking about the long-term effects of his brain injury, Wilson tells the BBC: “My thinking is a bit blurred. I can’t focus or anything for too long without getting confused. I’m learning to walk again now.”

Wilson, who’s already been a drum and bass MC before the incident, explains that it’s “something I’ve always loved doing”.

“He started doing the DJ lessons with Emma… and all of a sudden he’s started coming out with these lyrics,” says David’s mother Kim. “It’s really awakened his brain.”

“Significantly,” Wilson adds, sharing that he can now listen to a song and learn it word for word: “I’ve got a superpower.”

Earlier this year, cancer patient Christian Nolen played Deftones and System of a Down songs on guitar while his brain was being operated on. The mini-concert was played at the request of Nolen’s neurological team in Miami, who said that Nolan needed to be awake during the procedure in order to avoid major damage.

“When a tumour is involving or near a critical part of the brain — something that controls the ability to speak or understand language or move — we want to do the surgery awake to continually monitor the patient, so you know if you start to violate normal brain functions,” said Dr. Ricardo Komotar.

“The surgeries actually become much more dangerous [when the patient is asleep] because you can take out a tumour that involves normal brain function and cause real harm without knowing it.”


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