March 27 (UPI) -- Dutch soccer player Abdelhak Nouri -- who collapsed during a game between Ajax and Werder Bremen in 2017 -- has woken up after being in a coma for nearly three years.
Nouri, 22, fell to the ground due to a cardiac arrest while playing for Ajax during the friendly on July 8, 2017, in Eisenstadt, Austria. He sustained permanent brain damage as a result of the medical episode and incomplete medical treatment. Ajax later admitted that their on-field treatment for Nouri was "inadequate."
Nouri's father and brother and former Ajax teammates Frenkie de Jong, Donny van de Beek and Steven Bergwijn discussed Nouri Thursday during an episode of the Dutch talk show De Wereld Draait Door. Nouri's brother, Abderrahim, revealed that Abdelhak is no longer in a coma.
"He has not been home very long, we take care of him there now," Abderrahim said. "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 just awake. He sleeps, he sneezes, he eats, he burps, but it's not like he gets out of bed. He's very bedridden and still very dependent on us. 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."
De Jong, who now plays at Barcelona, has stayed in touch with Nouri. Nouri was 19 when he made his debut for Ajax's senior team. He appeared in 15 matches for the Dutch soccer club while competing in the Eredivisie.