Ajax’s Abdelhak Nouri is communicating after waking up from a coma, say his family.
His brother revealed that the Dutch footballer reacts to people by raising his eyebrows, although he cannot walk or talk.
Nouri sustained severe and permanent brain damage after suffering a cardiac arrhythmia attack in a pre-season friendly against Werder Bremen in July 2017.
The 22-year-old was placed in a coma after the incident on July 8 2017 but is now recovering in a house built especially for him.
His brother Abderrahim told Dutch TV show ‘The World Keeps Turning’: “It’s going well with Appie, but what is good? He’s awake, he sleeps, he eats, he burps but he doesn’t get out of bed.
“In good moments there is a form of communication where he moves his eyebrows but he can’t keep it up for long.
“Appie is aware of where he is. It’s good for him to be in a familiar environment with his family.
“We talk to him and watch football with him – he likes that. Sometimes it gets very emotional but often there’s a smile. That’s good for us.”
Ajax fans have always shown their support and appreciation with tributes to Nouri.
Banners have been displayed at the Johan Cruyff Arena and hundreds of fans even gathered outside his home shortly after the incident.
Nouri’s father Mohammed added: “For sure we believe in a miracle, this is a tough test for us but we will continue to do our best.
“It is our intention Appie will get better. We just have to take care of him as best we can.”
Former team-mate Frenkie de Jong revealed that Nouri reacted to hearing about his move to Barcelona.
De Jong said: “When I was sitting with him, his mother came in. She said ‘Appie, where should Frenkie go – to Barcelona?’
“As soon as she said that, his eyebrow lifted. That was a very special moment.”