Ajax have confirmed that 20-year-old midfielder Abdelhak “Appie” Nouri has suffered ‘serious and permanent brain damage’ following his collapse in a pre-season friendly.
The Amsterdam-born Dutch underage international collapsed during his side’s game against Werder Breman in Zillertal, Austria on Saturday.
The incident occurred after the 70th minute of the game, when he collapsed suffering from cardiac arrhythmia, which is an irregular heartbeat. He received treatment on the field before the arrival of a trauma helicopter which brought him to the hospital.
The Dutch giants confirmed on Monday that he had recovered a stable heart rate followed by an update on Tuesday stating that they were unable to examine the extensive damage done to the brain until he had been gradually woken from the induced coma he was in by doctors.
It was this afternoon when the horrific news emerged following more detailed tests.
The club took to Twitter to make a brief statement:
Our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his loved ones in this difficult time. (2/2)#StayStrongAppie
— AFC Ajax (English) (@AFCAjax_EN) July 13, 2017
Abdelhak “Appie” Nouri was a bright up-and-coming star within the ranks of the decorated youth academy at Ajax.
He made 15 appearances for the first team last season, including three in the Europa League. The youngster made his senior debut in a 5-0 cup win against Willem II in the KNVB-Beker, marking the occasion with a goal. His promise was acknowledged as he was named Juiler Player of the Season for 2016/17, which is given to the star performer for the Ajax reserves in the Dutch Eerste Divisie.
He has represented his country at every underage level from U-15s to U-19s, scoring nine goals in 19 appearances whilst on duty with the Oranje’s U-19s.
Ajax CEO Edwin van der Sar said:
“This is the worst possible message. It’s terrible. We feel enormously with his parents, siblings and other relatives.
“The blow is hard here at Ajax, although we knew we had to consider this scenario. They were uncertain days, lots of people in different ways have sympathized with his situation. It is greatly appreciated.
“Abdelhak is such a great talent, but unfortunately we will never know how far this star would have reached.”
Rob Lynch, Pundit Arena