Football: Nouri's family press Ajax over brain damage

Ajax's Abdelhak Nouri and Donny van de Beek during training in May 2017.
Ajax's Abdelhak Nouri and Donny van de Beek during training in May 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

THE HAGUE (AFP) - The family of Ajax midfielder Abdelhak Nouri, who suffered lasting brain damage after collapsing before a friendly in July (2017), wants the club to clarify the level of support it will provide, Dutch media reported on Saturday (Jan 6).

At the request of the young footballer's relatives, lawyer John Beer is investigating the circumstances of the incident. He told the Dutch daily NRC that he hopes "very soon" to be able to share "definitive findings".

The 20-year-old midfielder, nicknamed "Appie", collapsed suddenly because of a heart problem during the pre-match warmup before Ajax played German club Werder Bremen, in Austria.

Questions remain over when cardiac resuscitation was first administered. According to NRC, television images suggest that it was "certainly not for at least the first five minutes" after the arrival of the club doctor on the scene.

Nouri was hospitalised in intensive care in Innsbruck, Austria, before being transferred to a hospital in Amsterdam. He left intensive care at the end of July but remains in a "very low state of consciousness," according to the newspaper.

Nouri, who joined Ajax at the age of seven and was one of the club's young hopes, has suffered "grave and permanent" brain damage.

"A large part of his brain is not functioning any more and... the chances of re-establishing these cerebral functions in non-existent," Ajax said this summer.


The club said that they were collaborating "entirely" with Beer's enquiry.

"Nouri's family, like Ajax, know precisely what happened to Abdelhak," the club responded on Saturday according to the state broadcaster NOS.

The club say they are communicating directly with the family but refuses to provide "any background information to third parties such as the media, since this concerns medical records and is therefore confidential".

Moreover, NRC reported, the Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) found during a medical in 2014 that Nouri had a heart malformation which was adjudged harmless by their medical staff and therefore the family was not told.

Dutch news channel RTL Nieuws quoted a KNVB spokesman who said that the federation had told Nouri himself "orally and in writing" and that was "enough" because the player was over 16.