Rugby player who had a stroke woke up gay and became a hairdresser
A RUGBY-playing straight man claims he woke up homosexual after suffering a stroke.
Chris Birch, 26, suffered a stroke during during a freak training accident when he attempted a back flip and broke his neck.
But following his recovery he quit his bank job to become a hairdresser, grew to hate sport, called off his engagement and started dating a man.
"I was gay when I woke up and I still am," he said. "It sounds strange but when I came round I immediately felt different. I wasn't interested in women any more.
"I had never been attracted to a man before - I'd never even had any gay friends. But I didn't care about who I was before, I had to be true to my feelings."
Prior to the accident, Mr Birch was planning on settling down with his girlfriend and spent weekends playing sport and drinking with his mates.
Mr Birch, of Ystrad Mynach, South Wales, said: "Suddenly I hated every thing about my old life. I didn't get on with my friends, I hated sport and found my job boring.
"I started to take more pride in my appearance, bleached my hair and started working out. I went from a 19st skinhead, to a 11st preened man.
People I used to know barely recognised me and with my new look I became even more confident."
He retrained as a hairdresser and now lives with his partner Jack Powell, 19, above the salon he works in.
Two years ago it was reported that Alan Brown, from Malvern, Worcestershire, woke from a stroke to find he was able to paint and draw in incredible detail, despite no previous evidence of the skill.
The father of three said the experience must have 'flicked a switch' in the creative part of his brain.
And Mr Birch certainly has no regrets about his transformation. 'I'm nothing like the old Chris now but I wouldn't change a thing,' he said.
"I think I'm happier than ever, so I don't regret the accident.
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 sexuality."