11/24/2013 at 12:00 PM EST
Growing up, Denver teen Lachlan Connors displayed no musical talent.
"I would say, 'Can't you hear what's next?' with something like 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' or 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,' and he'd say, 'No,' " Lachlan's mother, Elsie Hamilton,told CBS Denver
Instead, the boy's passion was sports. "I thought I might become a professional lacrosse player," he said. But a concussion sustained while playing
in sixth grade changed that.
"I fell backwards and hit the back of my head on the ground," he said. "I didn't really understand something bad had happened."
Once his doctor said he could return to the playing field, Connors took a few more hits that landed him in the hospital for weeks and gave him epileptic seizures.
Though he's forbidden from playing contact sports
, a recuperating Connors discovered a talent – and passion – for music that he'd never had before.
"Music is what gets me up in the morning," says Connors. He now plays "roughly 10 to 13 instruments," including piano, guitar, mandolin, harmonica, an African instrument called the kalimba, and two kinds of bagpipes.
Perhaps most startlingly, he plays entirely by ear – though his mother has encouraged him to do so, Connors can't read music.
Dr. Spyridon Papadopoulos thinks Lachlan's unusual about-face maybe have arisen from his brain's recovery from the injuries
: "The thought is just a theory – that this was a talent laying latent in his brain and somehow was uncovered by his brain rewiring after the injury. Clearly something happened in the brain and his brain had to recover from injury and change happened."
Now a high school junior, Connors is taking full advantage of his new gift, playing in his school band and developing his new talents. "When Lachlan plays it's absolutely beautiful," his mother says.