Nouri out of coma, but brain dam­age un­changed

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

AM­S­TER­DAM: Stricken Ajax mid­fielder Ab­del­hak Nouri, who suf­fered se­ri­ous, last­ing brain dam­age af­ter col­laps­ing dur­ing a friendly, has been trans­ferred out of in­ten­sive care, and can breathe on his own, the club said yes­ter­day.

The 20-year-old is be­ing cared for at the Aca­demic Med­i­cal Cen­tre in Am­s­ter­dam, where he was brought on July 14 from a hos­pi­tal in Aus­tria. “He is no longer in an in­duced coma and has full res­pi­ra­tory func­tions,” the club said, in a state­ment is­sued in the name of Nouri’s fam­ily.

But it added soberly that “his con­di­tion fur­ther re­mains un­changed from pre­vi­ous up­dates and is sta­ble, but with se­ri­ous and per­ma­nent brain dam­age.” Tributes have poured in from across The Nether­lands and from abroad for the young­ster, af­fec­tion­ately known as Ap­pie, who joined the Am­s­ter­dam club at age seven and was a promis­ing prospect.

Nouri suf­fered ir­reg­u­lar heart prob­lems in a pre-sea­son friendly against Ger­man side Werder Bre­men in Aus­tria on July 8 and col­lapsed. He was re­sus­ci­tated and flown to an Inns­bruck hos­pi­tal by he­li­copter.

At first the news seemed pos­i­tive, but hopes for a quick re­cov­ery were shat­tered when Ajax later an­nounced he had suf­fered mas­sive brain dam­age, most due to a lack of oxy­gen. Dozens of vis­i­tors have flocked to the Am­s­ter­dam hos­pi­tal grounds to pay trib­ute to Nouri since he ar­rived back in the coun­try on July 14.

A large hedge 100 me­tres (yards) from the en­trance is decked with Ajax scarves, flow­ers, po­ems, chil­dren’s draw­ings and Ajax shirts bear­ing Nouri’s num­ber 34, all ac­com­pa­nied by the slo­gan ‘#StayStrongAp­pie’.

“The whole coun­try is af­fected, not just Am­s­ter­dam. It was like it hap­pened to our son,” said Con­nie, a mother of four who went to the hos­pi­tal to lay roses. The young­ster, who broke into the first team last sea­son and had made nine ap­pear­ances in the Dutch top flight, will not be for­got­ten at the Am­s­ter­dam Arena, de­spite not be­ing able to play again.


White­boards are hung on the walls so fans can write mes­sages of sup­port, along­side the words ‘#Forever­num­ber34’, and ‘#Pray­forAp­pie’. A group of young Real Madrid fans from Spain also stopped at the sta­dium. “It’s im­pos­si­ble not to be touched by his story. He’s only 20 years old,” one of them said.

In the open­ing match of the women’s 2017 Euro in the Nether­lands, where Dutch King Willem-Alexan­der and Queen Max­ima were pre­sent, a minute’s ap­plause was held in the 34th minute. Ajax’s ri­vals PSV Eind­hoven posted a photo of their play­ers hold­ing up pa­pers bear­ing the words ‘#StayStrongAp­pie’ on In­sta­gram, while Nice also voiced sup­port be­fore the match in France to­day.

Many other clubs in­clud­ing Manch­ester United, who beat Ajax in May’s Europa League fi­nal, did the same on so­cial me­dia. And Nouri’s team-mates will be hop­ing to pay a fit­ting trib­ute of their own, as they go into this sea­son look­ing to cap­ture the Dutch league ti­tle for the 34th time.

In their state­ment, his fam­ily again thanked fans for their sup­port and asked ev­ery­one “to pray for Ab­del­hak”.—


AM­S­TER­DAM: A vis­i­tor stands in si­lence next to items placed by the hos­pi­tal where the Ajax mid­fielder Ab­del­hak Nouri re­ceives treat­ments in Am­s­ter­dam on Sun­day.

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