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21 Aug, 2018 15:51

Ajax player Appie Nouri ‘awake and communicating’ after over a year in coma

Ajax player Appie Nouri ‘awake and communicating’ after over a year in coma

Appie Nouri, the former Ajax starlet who has spent over a year in a coma after suffering an on-field cardiac arrhythmia, is “awake and communicating” with his family, according to his brother.

Nouri fell unconscious during a friendly game in Austria in July 2017, stepping away from the action before falling to the floor due to an irregular heartbeat, and later slipping into a coma.

Formerly touted as one of the Dutch side’s most promising talents, Nouri subsequently suffered massive permanent brain damage and had been confined to a vegetative state ever since.

According to the player’s brother Abderrahim, the 21-year-old woke from the coma earlier this month and has communicated with relatives with movements of his eyebrows.

According to The Mirror, Abderrahim said: "If I compared it with before, then he is much better at the moment. His neurological status is better than months ago.

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"Physically it is very difficult. There is a decline. That is purely because he does not move and is bedridden. He cannot move his own body with his own strength, only his head.

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"In the beginning it was not like that, he had his eyes closed. But he woke up bit by bit. Since December and January, his awareness has improved a bit and since also a form of communication is possible.

“If you ask him things, like 'open your mouth' or 'confirm this with your eyebrows', he can do it."

Tributes from the footballing world poured in for the former player, once tipped as the biggest talent from the famed Ajax academy, which has produced names such as Johan Cruyff.

In July this year, Nouri’s former teammate Justin Kluivert chose 34 as his squad number, formerly worn by the stricken player at Ajax, upon his move to Italian side Roma in tribute to his friend.

In the days after Nouri fell ill, Ajax fans produced a banner with the player’s image and squad number in the stands before their Champions League game with Nice.