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Man Reflects On The Violent Mugging That Turned Him Into A Mathematical Genius

used with permission of Jason Padgett
Jason Padgett with drawing at his dayjob

Sound Effect's Gabriel Spitzer talks with Tacoma resident Jason Padgett about the night he was mugged outside a Tacoma karaoke bar, and how that incident changed the trajectory of his life.

Padgett suffered a concussion in the attack, as well as internal injuries. He also developed post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Only later would it become apparent that Padgett had somehow become one of just a handful of people to develop what's known as acquired savant syndrome - a condition that left him with the remarkable ability to perform complex mathematical equations in his head.

Padgett’s “mathematical awaking,” as he calls it, turned out to be the first in a series of silver linings.

He went back to school to expand and enhance his new-found abilities. It was there that he met the woman who would eventually become his wife and the mother of his child.

Padgett went on to write a book about the experience titled “Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel”.

Sony Pictures Entertainment plans to adapt the book for the big screen, with Channing Tatum starring as Padgett.

“None of that would have happened if it wasn’t for that horrible event that at first seemed like it was the worst thing that ever happened to me,” Padgett said.

He says, looking back, he believes the good that came out of the situation far outweighed the bad.

“If I had to go back in time, I would let those guys beat me all over again just to have my wife and daughter,” he said.

Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.