A CANADIAN who was knocked unconscious after falling from a horse and woke up with a Scottish accent is still speaking with a Scots toungue five years on.
Mum of two Sharon Campbell-Rayment had never been to Scotland before she was thrown from her horse Malachi in the accident at her Ontario family farm in 2008.
The 50-year-old, who runs a riding school, was knocked unconscious and couldn’t talk for several days, with doctors saying she had concussion.
When her voice did come back, she had an uncontrollable stutter.
But after eight weeks of speech therapy, it returned - with a Caledonian accent rather than a Canadian one.
Words such as “wee”, “grand”, “awright” and “brilliant” peppered Sharon’s vocabulary as she spoke with a Scots accent.
Doctors later diagnosed foreign accent syndrome - a rare condition associated with head injuries.
The former minister and nurse believed the disorder - which only 60 people suffer from around the world - was a blessing and led to her tracing her family’s Scottish roots.
In September 2010, she and husband Doug travelled to Scotland to piece together the history of her ancestors, who emigrated to Canada more than 100 years ago.
Sharon, who recently started riding horses again, said today: “Doctors have said I might have the Scottish accent for the rest of my life, or it might just disappear overnight but I don’t think it’s going anywhere fast.
“I could have ended up with any accent - French, Spanish, even Klingon - but I got Scottish. It was definitely a sign.
“The accident has completely turned my life around.
“I strongly believe it was a message telling me this is how things were meant to be.”
Since her Scots trip, Sharon has been battling to cope with the other symptoms of her brain trauma, which make it difficult for her to make decisions, concentrate and problem solve.
She also suffers extreme sensitivity to light, severe headaches and anxiousness around crowds.
The mum has now turned her horse-riding retreat into a therapy centre for people recovering from brain injuries and started writing a book, which she hopes to finish this year.
She added: “I wanted to write it for myself and to tell my story - but also to help other people going through a similar experience.
“Brain injuries can be hard for people to understand because there are no physical signs.
“But they change your life.
“It’s been like starting all over again. I’m a completely different person.”