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Ajax star Abdelhak Appie Nouri has regained consciousness after being in a coma for nearly three years.
In July 2017, during a pre-season friendly against Werder Bremen, Nouri suffered a cardiac arrhythmia attack and collapsed on the pitch .
He was immediately treated by paramedics before being airlifted to hospital. It was later learned that Nouri, who has been with Ajax since the age of nine, had suffered serious and permanent brain damage.
He was in a coma for two years and nine months but now his brother, Abderrahim, has shed light on the positive progress made.
The 22-year old is still not completely recovered but is "doing well" in a house specifically built for him. Now awake, he "sleeps, eats, frowns and burps but is very dependent".
Speaking to Dutch TV show De Wereld Draait Door, via AD, Abderrahim said: "He has not been home very long, we take care of him there now. I must say that since he is at home it is going much better than before in the hospital.
"He is aware of where he is, he is back in a familiar environment with his family.
"He's no longer in a coma. He's very bedridden and still very dependent on us."
The two brothers are able to communicate through the raising of eyebrows and Nouri is also responsive to football on the television.
Abderrahim added: "On his good days there is a form of communication, for example, confirmation with his eyebrows or a smile. But you notice that he can't last that very long.
"We talk to him like he's not sick. We take him into our conversations and we watch football with him in the living room, for example. Then he watches. You notice that he likes that very much.
"He often shows emotions. Sometimes he is emotional, but often there is also a smile. That does us good. That makes you really appreciate a smile."
As per teammate Donny van de Beek, Nouri asked for #34 as his Ajax squad number because he wanted to win their 34th league title.
Unfortunately he never got to be part of the squad because of the tragic incident, but the club made sure they did it in honour of him.
"Nouri has always been there [with Ajax]. It was terrible what happened," manager Erik ten Hag told Fox Sports after clinching the domestic double in May.
"It does something to a person. The boys were like family to him, that hurts incredibly much."
The Ajax squad sported tribute shirts to Nouri on the pitch, while his father gave an emotional speech at the celebrations in Amsterdam.
Stay strong, Appie.
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