Dutch soccer player Abdelhak Nouri has suffered "serious and permanent brain damage" after collapsing on-field during a preseason friendly match for AFC Ajax in Austria on Saturday.
The 20-year-old Eredivisie league midfielder was playing for Ajax against German club SV Werder Bremen when he fell to the ground during the 72nd minute, before his worried teammates forced a halt in play and came to his assistance.
Nouri was treated on-field by paramedics and club staff before being transported to a hospital in a stable condition by a trauma helicopter.
Shortly after arriving to hospital, Ajax confirmed the young player had been placed into an induced coma and had suffered a heart palpitation, known as an arrhythmia, while on-field.
UPDATE NOURI | #Ajax have landed in Amsterdam. Latest update on Nouri: he is on intensive care and kept asleep, but he's out of danger.— AFC Ajax (English) (@AFCAjax_EN) July 8, 2017
UPDATE NOURI | Appie's heart is functioning normal and appears to be undamaged. It is however too soon to... (1/2)#StayStrongAppie— AFC Ajax (English) (@AFCAjax_EN) July 10, 2017
...say anything about his recovery, as his brain function cannot be tested properly as long as he is kept asleep. (2/2)#StayStrongAppie— AFC Ajax (English) (@AFCAjax_EN) July 10, 2017
An arrhythmia is an irregularity of heart function that results in rapid palpitations caused by interruptions to electrical coronary signals.
In a series of tweets on Thursday, Ajax later confirmed that Nouri has since been diagnosed with permanent brain damage as a result of the incident.
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
"Nouri's brain functions have been extensively examined in the intensive care unit of the Innsbruck hospital," AFC Ajax said in a statement released on Thursday.
"The diagnosis which has emerged is that a large part of his brain is no longer functioning, and that the chance of recovery of these critical brain functions is very low.
"This is most likely the result of his brain having been deprived of oxygen for too long, after the midfielder collapsed during the Ajax-Werder Bremen friendly in Hippach."
Tributes for the midfielder flowed online in the hours following the incident, with soccer clubs, players and writers around the world sending messages of support.
Absolutely devastating news about Abdelhak Nouri. Thoughts are with his friends & family. https://t.co/XrB6ZAJX6o— Greg Johnson (@gregianjohnson) July 13, 2017
Absolutely sickening news coming out of Ajax. My thoughts are with Abdelhak Nouri. :( https://t.co/IOLkmWIXKJ— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) July 13, 2017
One of the best players I've ever played against. All my prayers go out to Abdelhak Nouri and his family. #staystrongappie— Måns Herrmann (@mansherrmann) July 13, 2017
Absolutely heartbreaking about Nouri. Some very good judges predicted big things for him at Ajax. Wishing him and his family all the best.— Andy Brassell (@andybrassell) July 13, 2017
I remember playing against Abdelhak Nouri and thinking what a player!, such sad news 😔💔🙏🏽— Demetri Mitchell (@demetrimitche11) July 13, 2017
Nouri, the product of Ajax's youth academy, made his debut for the club's first team in 2016 and played 15 matches for the side.
Club General Manager Edwin van der Sar said: "This is the worst possible news. It's terrible. We feel enormously for his parents, siblings and other relatives. Their suffering is impossible to describe.
"This has hit Ajax very hard as well, even though we were told to consider this scenario. The past days have been uncertain, and so many people, in different ways, have sympathised with his situation.
"I've seen that the entire club has been hit with this since Saturday. Abdelhak is such a great talent, but unfortunately, we'll never see how far he would have reached if this hadn't happened to him."
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