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Chris Birch, Former Rugby Jock, Claims Stroke 'Turned Him Gay'

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The "nature vs. nurture" debate over sexual orientation continues at full force, but now, one former rugby-playing Welsh jock claims to have actually "woken up gay" after a gym accident led him to suffer a stroke.

As the Daily Mail is reporting, 26-year-old Chris Birch was trying to impress his friends with a back flip while training, but broke his neck and suffered a stroke. When he came to after being rushed to the hospital, Birch, who hails from South Wales, said his personality had completely changed. "It sounds strange but when I came round I immediately felt different," said Birch.

Birch tells the Mirror that his most profound discovery came about during the recovery process, while he was watching a TV program featuring a handsome actor. "I felt my stomach flutter and the same feelings I used to have for pretty girls came across me," said Birch, who also added he was no longer interested in sports and had little in common with old friends. "I had never felt like that about a man before but I knew immediately what the feeling was. I fancied him."

Birch says he immediately started losing weight and dramatically altering his looks. Though he returned to his old job in a bank, he soon left his position and, much to the surprise of his friends and family, re-trained as a hairdresser and found work in a salon. Birch now lives with his partner Jack Powell, 19, above the salon, according to the Daily Mail.

Though he's never heard of a stroke changing someone's sexuality, Joe Korner, director of communications for The Stroke Association in the U.K. believes the stroke could potentially have a massive impact on a victim's life. "Strokes are traumatic, life-changing experiences, which can make you reassess life and your feelings so perhaps that's the reason behind it," Korner tells CBS News. "Whether or not the stroke turned Chris gay, or whether he was gay anyway but unaware of it, his experience seems to be a positive one, which is great."

Birch in his salon after the stroke:

Birch as he appeared before the stroke:

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