Young Ajax midfielder Abdelhak Nouri collapsed on the football pitch a year ago and has been in a coma since, now his brother has confirmed that his condition has improved and that there has been communication between them.
21 year old Nouri signed for Ajax in 2005 as just a nine year old to their academy. The young midfielder broke into the first team in September 2016, making his debut in a cup game for the Eredivisie side.
He went on to make nine first team appearances for the side in the 2016/17 side after gaining promotion to the first team. In his first preseason with the first team he played in a friendly against Werder Bremen.
During that match Nouri suffered a cardiac arrhythmia on the pitch and was airlifted to hospital. The club confirmed days later that he had suffered brain damage as a result of the incident but was able to breathe unaided.
Now over a year later his brother has confirmed that the player's condition has improved and that there has been communication between 'Appie' and his family. Speaking to NOS, Abderrahim Nouri said:
"If I compare it to before, it is much better at the moment, and its neurological status is better than months ago.
"Physically it's hard, there's a decline, that's just because he does not move, he's bedridden, he can not move his body on his own, just his head.
"...In the beginning it was not like that, when he was really in a coma, he had his eyes closed, but he woke up more and more, since December, January, his consciousness has improved and since then there has been a form of communication. you ask him things, for example 'open your mouth' or 'confirm this with your eyebrow', he does that, so there is a kind of communication now."
Ajax fans pay tribute to Nouri. Image: PA Images
The older Nouri also revealed his brother had previously been out of bed to use a wheelchair saying, "He sometimes comes out of bed to sit in his wheelchair. In the past that was difficult, in the beginning it went well, then again very difficult, a lot of ups and downs, his immune system is weakened, it fluctuates a lot, I do not want to go into details, but he has had a very bad time. normally with someone who has had brain damage, which were very difficult times."
There's obviously a lot of ups and downs in the former player's health but any sign of improvement is obviously a good thing.