The Current

Trapped in a virtual coma yet aware, Martin Pistorius breaks free

Young Martin Pistorius spent a decade of his life as a 'ghost boy', trapped inside his body with locked-in syndrome. He shares his inspiring story.

He was a young man trapped in a body that in no way would let him indicate that he was aware of the world around him. And then one day, a caregiver became convinced that he could understand her and Martin Pistorius' world began to open up. Martin Pistorius shares his inspiring story.

Listen to Martin Pistorius describe what it was like to regain awareness after four years in a 'vegetative state' (Runs 1:02):

Martin Pistorius was a twelve-year-old boy in South Africa when he was struck by a mysterious illness. He was slowly debilitated... until he could no longer move his body, or speak. Then he slipped into what doctors called a vegetative state.

His parents were told he would soon be dead. But after four years, something happened inside Martin. His mind began to function again, but not his body. He was soon fully aware of everything around him, but had no way of sharing. He was trapped inside his own body, like a ghost boy.

But that's far from the end of Martin Pistorius's story. Because today, Martin is speaking again -- albeit with the help of a computer program.

We reached Martin Pistorius in New York City ... but we've done something unusual to make this interview happen. We sent Martin the questions in advance because he has to painstakingly type each word into the computer and then activate his voice and he needed to be able to do that ahead of time.

Martin Pistorius' book is called "Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body".

Share your thoughts on this inspiring story.

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This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal.