The emergency entrance at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago as seen on Nov. 16, 2007. Northwestern Memorial Hospital is the primary teaching hospital for Northwestern University Feinburg School of Medicine (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo)
The emergency entrance at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago as seen on Nov. 16, 2007. Northwestern Memorial Hospital is the primary teaching hospital for Northwestern University Feinburg School of Medicine (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo)
The emergency entrance at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago as seen on Nov. 16, 2007. Northwestern Memorial Hospital is the primary teaching hospital for Northwestern University Feinburg School of Medicine (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo)

(CBS) – Every five seconds, someone in this country suffers a traumatic brain injury; a third of those cases will be severe enough to cause a coma. Doctors often tell families to constantly talk to their loved ones, even if they’re unconscious, but the question has always been: Can they hear?

For the first time, reports CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy, science may have an answer.

Four years ago Godfrey Catanus had his hands full. He was a new dad and an inspirational youth pastor in Southern California. He led groups of volunteers who helped rebuild after Hurricane Katrina and traveled to the Philippines on a charity mission. But then a blood clot in his liver sent the 32-year-old and his wife Corinth rushing to the hospital.

“He had 3 1/2 feet of intestine taken out and then he had a brain hemorrhage that required nine hours of surgery,” Corinth said.

A medically-induced coma saved his life, but doctors feared Godfrey would never wake up.

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