Abdelhak Nouri is now communicating with his family, according to the Ajax footballer’s brother.
Nouri was left with permanent brain damage after suffering heart failure during a friendly against Werder Bremen in July 2017.
The Eredivisie club subsequently confirmed Nouri was not expected to make a full recovery due to the severity of his injuries.
But, in an interview with Dutch national broadcaster NOS, Nouri’s brother Abderrahim offered an update, revealing the family have seen improvements in the 21-year-old’s condition.
“Not in the beginning,” Abderrahim Nouri said when asked about his brother’s ability to communicate. “He was just in a coma and had his eyes closed. Slowly he was waking up a bit more and more.
“But since December and January, his awareness has become a little better and there is a form of communication. When you asked him something, he opened his mouth or confirmed he understood by raising an eyebrow.
“The doctor in Austria told us the diagnosis. Your brother or son will be like this, this and this and won’t be able to do this, this this. That was a real shock.
“Of course, I believe in science and I believe in what I see, but if we talk about the future, I think time will teach us. We believe he is capable of anything. Nothing is difficult for him. And we keep our hopes up. For people from outside that won’t understand – you just need to keep hope.
“Neurologically, he is much better than before. Physically, it’s a little more difficult and we see a little deterioration but that’s pure because he is not moving. Sometimes he comes out of bed to sit in his wheelchair.
“That was more difficult before. But he has ups and downs. His resistance and immune system are very low. It swings a lot.
In June, Ajax released a statement accepting the on-field treatment received by Nouri after he collapsed was “inadequate” and could have worsened his condition.
Managing director Edwin van der Sar said: “We recognise our responsibility and liability for the consequences of this. First of all, I would like to offer the Nouri family our apologies for the fact that it took us so long to change our point of view on this matter.”
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