Ajax star Abdelhak ‘Appie’ Nouri can now communicate through body movements after suffering permanent brain damage when he collapsed in a friendly.
The midfielder is making slow progress according to his family after a cardiac arrhythmia in a pre-season friendly against Werder Bremen in July last year.
Austrian doctors reported massive brain damage after Nouri woke from an induced coma, with his family later admitting he was in a vegetative state.
Now however they have announced that Nouri’s condition is stable and that he is making small steps of progress.
Brother Abderrahim said: "If I compared it with before, then he is much better at the moment. His neurological status is better than months ago.
"Physically it is very difficult. There is a decline. That is purely because he does not move and is bedridden.
"He cannot move his own body with his own strength, only his head."
Nouri was considered one of Ajax’s most promising young talents at the time of his collapse.
Abderrahim said that the family can communicate with Nouri and he can be moved in a wheelchair.
Abderrahim said: "In the beginning it was not like that, he had his eyes closed. But he woke up bit by bit. Since December and January, his awareness has improved a bit and since also a form of communication is possible.
"If you ask him things, like ‘open your mouth’ or ‘confirm this with your eyebrows’, he can do it."
He added: "Before that was difficult. In an earlier stage it went well, afterwards it was difficult again, a lot of ups and downs.
"His immune system is weakened. It is fluctuating quite a bit. I don’t want to go into details, but he had a very rough time. That is normal for someone who has brain damage."
Nouri is currently being treated in a rehabilitation centre with his family members watching over him.
Last summer, Abderrahim revealed that Abdelhak "cannot walk anymore, cannot talk, he does not recognise us, does not know who we are, he does not feel anything, he does not hear anything."
He said: "The base of the brain is mostly damaged and is not functioning."
Abderrahim added: "According to the doctor he can never do all that [walking, talking and feeling] again, he will never heal.
"But I trust Allah. May it be like that in the end I will accept it. He is a great guy. Everybody, the whole world, is talking great things about him."
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