Arkansas man wakes up from coma after 19 years

 

US: A man who was in a coma for 19 years after a car crash woke up and spoke to his mother, who was sitting at his bedside. Mr Terry Wallis began with a few nouns, but gradually he found a torrent of phrases.

"He started out with 'Mum' and surprised her and then it was 'Pepsi' and then it was 'milk'," Alesha Badgley, director of the Arkansas rehabilitation centre where Mr Wallis was being cared for, said. "Now it is anything he wants to say."

His mother, Mrs Angilee Wallis, said it was a miracle: "I couldn't tell you my first thought, I just fell over on the floor," she said.

Mr Wallis, now 39, was driving with a friend in July 1984 when their car left the road and plunged into a creek. The pair were found the next day under a bridge - the friend was dead and Mr Wallis was in a coma.

His daughter Amber, who was born just before the accident, is now 19. Mr Wallis was left as a quadriplegic as a result of the crash, and said he is determined to walk again for her.

"It has been hard dealing with it, it has been hard realising the man I married cannot be there," his wife, Sandi, said. "The whole family missed out on his company."

The silence ended when Mr Wallis uttered his first word.

His father, Mr Jerry Wallis, said his son talks almost non-stop now, but it seems as though time stopped for him after the wreck - he still believes Ronald Reagan is president.

Bill Clinton was Arkansas's governor at the time of the car crash.

Mr Wallis has asked to speak to his grandmother, who died several years ago, and even recited her phone number - something everyone else in the family had forgotten. "You see, he's still back in 1984," his father said.

Mr Perry Wallis, Terry's brother, said: "Just to put it bluntly, it was pure hell to see your brother laying there, not knowing if you will ever talk to him again."

The timing of the recovery also "was kind of peculiar", his father said. "He wrecked on Friday the 13th and 19 years later he started talking on Friday the 13th. - (AP)