BY NOREEN FAGAN – It
seems pretty absurd that a burly rugby player can have a stroke, slip into a coma
and wake up gay.
beer-swilling skinhead before he attempted to do a back flip in front of his
friends. The flip failed, Birch broke his neck, suffered a stroke and fell into
a coma. At that time, he was 19 years old, weighed 120 kilos and worked
in a bank.
When Birch came out of the coma, he said, he woke up as a gay
“It sounds strange, but when I came round I immediately felt
different. I wasn’t interested in women any more. I was definitely gay. I had
never been attracted to a man before – I’d never even had any gay friends.”
Birch embraced his new persona: he left banking to
become a hairdresser, got a fancy haircut, dropped all his mates, lost 50
kilos and now, at 26, is happily living with his boyfriend.
That’s pretty radical and a little cliché – did he really
have to wake up and want to be a hairdresser?
Birch said his neurologist told him that the
stroke might have triggered something in his brain.
According to the Daily Telegraph, UK Stroke Association spokesman Joe Korner said,
“During recovery the brain makes new neural connections, which can trigger
things people weren’t aware of, such as accent, language or perhaps a different