Knocked out in bar fight, man wakes up as a genius
TACOMA, Wash. -- Fate has no place in mathematics, yet fate played a role for Jason Padgett and his new fame for being a mathematical genius.
Growing up in school, math played no role for Padgett.
"I was one of those kids that said, 'When are you going to use math and how can that apply in the real world?'" Padgett said. "Now, I can't believe I ever said that."
But life as Pudgett knows it, literally, changed one night outside a Tacoma bar in 2002. The then 32-year old was leaving the bar when he was jumped from behind by two men attempting to steal his wallet.
"They got in a full run behind me and hit me in the back of the head," Padgett said. "People say when they get knocked out and see a flash of light, it was just like that, poof."
Doctors told him he had suffered a severe concussion and had some kidney damage from getting beat up. But he soon realized, he wasn't the same.
"I see things differently, I started seeing things as pixels, small squares, like the kind that would make up a TV screen," said Padgett, who spent years of therapy adjusting to what was happening to him.
He began suffering from PTSD and became OCD as result of the injuries and this new mental state he was felling. He hid out in his Tacoma home for three years with carpet over the windows because he was unable to handle what was happening to him.
He would see life as if it was being presented to him in a grid -- lines and all. He started to draw what he saw in ways a mathematician or physicist could understand, in fractals.
With the help of professionals, he began to realize that he wasn't going crazy, but that his brain injury had given him the ability to understand mathematics, even the most complex concepts, and even though he's had no high level math training.
He's now co-authored a book, "Struck by Genius," that chronicles his transformation from furniture sales man to a person still trying to come to grips with a talent he didn't know he had until he was beaten up.