Ajax starlet Abdelhak Nouri has woken from a year-long coma and can communicate with his family using gestures. Nouri suffered permanent brain damage after collapsing on the pitch in July 2017 during an Ajax match against Werder Bremen.
The 21-year-old experienced a heart attack due to cardiac arrhythmia and was airlifted to hospital. His brother has confirmed that the player’s condition is now improving, and although he cannot move his body yet, he has been helped out of bed and sat in his wheelchair. Abderrahim Nouri, 25, said: “His neurological condition is better than a few months ago. Physically, it’s hard.
“He does not move the body, just the head, but sometimes he gets out of bed to sit in his wheelchair. You can communicate with him. “In the beginning we were not allowed to stay with him for a long time. Those are the hospital’s rules. You have visiting hours. But after a while the doctors saw that we as family had a lot of influence on Abdelhak. “He became calmer. He recognised us. We reassure him, he hears a familiar voice. Since then we can, and do, stay with him 24 hours a day. Because it does him good.”
His family can give him instructions such as to open his mouth or raise his eyebrow and Nouri is able to respond accordingly. Ajax admitted they provided ‘inadequate care’ for Nouri on the pitch after an investigation discovered that a defibrillator should’ve been used sooner.
General manager Edwin Van der Sar said in June: “For a long time we were convinced that Abdelhak had received the best possible care on the field. “Had this [earlier use of defibrillator] happened, it’s possible that Abdelhak would have come out in a better condition.”