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Stroke survivor develops French accent

A 21-year-old Jersey athlete says he is determined to make a full recovery after a stroke left him speaking with a French accent.

Jack Allan was sparring in mixed martial arts at university in the UK when a kick to the jaw caused a bleed on his brain. It was two weeks before he was able to talk and when he did, he had a French accent. On his return to Jersey, Mr Allan's speech therapist diagnosed him with Foreign Accent Syndrome.

Foreign accent syndrome (FAS) is a condition that alters a person's speech patterns to make it sound like they are speaking in another language.

This usually happens as a result of brain damage, such as from a stroke, doctors say.

Johan Verhoeven, a professor of experimental phonetics at City, University of London said there have been about 200 cases of FAS reported in clinical studies to date, making it "quite a rare speech disorder".

'Get back to normal'

Describing his recovery process, Mr Allan said: "On top of learning how to talk again, I had to change my accent back to the normal accent I had before.

"When I'm tired or angry, it kind of slips out, or if I talk too fast. So I'm working on trying to get to talk fast but with my English or Jersey accent.

"I thought it was funny. My mates thought it was funny. "I didn't think much about it. I just thought on to recovery, to trying to get back to normal. That was my mindset," he added.

Mr Allan has been told there is no increased risk of another stroke and he believes the discipline of sports training has given him the mental and physical strength he needs to recover.

"I swim, I go to the gym, I'm out kicking the ball in the garden," he said.

"Sport, being physically active, competing, is part of who I am and that won't change.

"It's just it will take a while to get back to where I was," he added.


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