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Abdelhak Nouri Communicates With Family After Being in Coma

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Managing Director Edwin van der Sar made a statement on Monday evening at a press conference regarding the treatment of Abdelhak Nouri in July 2017. The complete statement can be read below.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for coming so soon. We have important news about the further course of the terrible incident with Abdelhak Nouri last year. On the basis of new insights that we have unfortunately only been able to collect very recently, we come to new conclusions. It means that the treatment of Abdelhak on the field in Austria in July 2017 was not adequate. We therefore recognize liability for the consequences thereof. First of all, I would like to apologize to the Nouri family at this place for allowing us to change our position so late.

I read this statement in its entirety - it is also a gripping situation for me and I want to use the right words for it.

Last year we paid a lot of attention to the medical treatment on the field in Austria with regard to Abdelhak's accident. A lot has been said and written about that. Unfortunately, we ended up in a situation in which, for a short time, our conclusions and those of the family and her advisers have diverged. I want to emphasize that we regret that this is so.

As a club, we first based our analysis of the treatment on the field on the information we received from our own people, but also on television images and other medical data. An external medical advisor, who was assisted by an intensive care physician, assessed all available information of that moment for us and provided a professional second opinion.

At a certain moment the situation was this: after all available information was submitted by Ajax to his medical and legal advisers, they concluded that the treatment on the field was adequate and that on the basis of that conclusion there is no reason for liability. from the club. This judgment is also based on television images and on the reading of the heart rate monitor Abdelhak had. A heartbeat was detected by the practitioners on the field and this was subsequently confirmed by the results of the heart rate monitor. Based on that information and external opinion, we as a club have taken the position that there was no reason to assume that the field did not work well.  

The petition filed by the Nouri family with the KNVB contained new information for us, which was an important reason to ask other experts for a third opinion. We have begun to doubt the conclusions of our advisers. And we obviously wanted 100% certainty that our position was correct. Hence questions arose about the information underlying the previous medical advice and the position taken on that basis. This had to be investigated further. In the interest of Abdelhak and his family. And of the other players, employees and supporters of Ajax.

We decided to have heart specialists, cardiologists, assess the newly available information, together with the already available data. Two weeks ago we found Professor Douwe Atsma and Professor Martin Schalij, professors of cardiology at the LUMC, ready to look at all the now familiar information and television images. We simply wanted clarity where doubts had arisen.

The findings of the cardiologists about the actions on the field are clear:

1. There was insufficient focus on the measurement of the heartbeat, the circulation and a possible resuscitation, and for a long time focused on releasing the airway of Abdelhak.

2. The existing defibrillator should have been used earlier to get a better picture of the situation.

3. The practitioners, after releasing the airway, had to incorporate a moment of reflection because the situation did not improve.

Let me say at the moment: if there had been someone who would have wanted to give Appie the most adequate care at that moment, then the caretakers around him would.

The cardiologists also found it unlikely that after the collapse of Abdelhak there was actually some time of effective blood circulation. If the defibrillator had been deployed, this would have been proven and the resuscitation could have already started. If that had been done, Abdelhak might have come out better. The latter is not certainty, but it is possible.

You can imagine what this insight did to me and my colleagues. Rutger was informed at the end of last week by the cardiologist about their preliminary conclusions, which showed that the case was different from what we previously assumed. He called me directly during my stay abroad. The news came in hard and still feels like a huge shock. Of course the most of all for the family, which I have informed in a conversation this afternoon. We have also offered our sincere apologies, that it took so long before we could get this clarity.

The selection was informed about this new situation this afternoon. Of course, as many other directly involved parties as possible, such as the World Cup leaders, have just been informed.

For a long time we, as management, but also our medical staff, were convinced that Abdelhak received the best possible care in the field. If then, by leading cardiologists, after a thorough examination of the circumstances, things are looked at differently, this is hard. Even though we have insisted on this third opinion ourselves .

The first thing we will do is to consult with the Nouri family again. The point now is that we do what is necessary to give substance to the responsibility that we, as a club, but certainly also as a person, as colleagues and friends of Appie, have. We want to solve this in a good way and that is what is now focused on. The use of the arbitration case was whether we acted adequately in the field. That is not the case and we obviously take responsibility for that. We have also previously promised the family that if we find out that we are wrong, we will take responsibility. Which regulation this is going to lead to is something that we will first discuss with the family. I want to offer our very deep apologies to Abdelhak, also in front of you, on behalf of Ajax, his family and relatives. It must have been terribly frustrating that it took so long that our lectures diverged, on top of the grief of what happened to Abdelhak.


I would like to address another point. Because we also feel a broader responsibility as a result of this situation. Because what happened to Abdelhak in Austria can also happen to other footballers. Not only professional footballers, but also amateur footballers. And it has also happened before. We feel responsible, as the largest club in the Netherlands, to turn our experience into learning points for everyone who is involved in the health of footballers in the Netherlands. Club doctors, physiotherapists, caretakers in amateur football - it is important for everyone to know how to act when a player just collapses on the pitch. We will therefore, in the short term, start an initiative to train people in this area to an amateur level. We feel that obligation towards Abdelhak,

But for now the care and attention that we have to give to Abdelhak and his family applies - now that we have established this together. That now has our priority.

Finally: at the request of the family we ask you to leave them as much as possible, and not to approach them with questions.



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  • The title was changed to Ajax Found Liable for Inadequately Treating Abdelhak Nouri
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Abdelhak Nouri fell into a coma after collapsing  during a friendly match on July 8, 2017

Ajax midfielder Abdelhak Nouri reportedly woke from his coma on August 5, after more than a year.

According to reports in the Netherlands, the 21-year-old regained consciousness earlier this month and recognised and communicated with his family.

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8 minutes ago, Berserker said:

Great news indeed, didn't even know this had happened!

The family of Nouri were interviewed on TV the other day and have announced that he woke up


'Physically, it's hard, he does not move the body, just the head, but sometimes he gets out of bed to sit in his wheelchair. 'You can communicate with him.'





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The family of Ajax midfielder Abdelhak 'Appie' Nouri have said his condition is improving, after coming round from a coma.

The 21-year-old collapsed on the field in July 2017 during a pre-season friendly against Werder Bremen in Austria.

He suffered severe brain damage as a result.

After being in a coma for over a year, Nouri's family have this week offered a positive update on the situation.

"If I compare it with the past, at the moment it's going well. Much better," the player's brother Abderrahim said in an interview with Dutch broadcaster NOS recently.

The family have refused to give up hope that a full recovery could still be achieved, with Nouri now said to be able to recognise and communicate with family members by moving his mouth and eyebrows.

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  • The title was changed to Abdelhak Nouri Communicates With Family After Being in Coma
  • 1 year later...
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8 minutes ago, Stan said:

In a year which has been shite for the world so far, this is great news! 


Wow, hard to fathom really. Almost 3 years!!! And he can sit up and eat again? That's incredible. 

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