The 22-year-old hasn’t played football since collapsing during a friendly against Werder Bremen nearly three years ago.
Abdelhak Nouri’s family have confirmed that the Ajax star is now being treated at home after suffering permanent brain damage while offering a positive update on his progress since waking up from a coma.
He went on to take in nine aggressive first-team appearances for Ajax before his career was cruelly cut short during the club’s pre-season tour of the Austrian Alps in July 2017.
Nouri had a cardiac arrhythmia attack on the pitch and was put into a medically induced coma as doctors tried to stabilise him in hospital, before concluding he had sustained severe damage to his brain.
The 22-year-old awakened a year later but was left unable to move or communicate for himself.
During a special edition of Dutch TV show De Wereld Draait Door, Abdelhak’s brother Abderrahim Nouri revealed that the former Ajax prospect is able to sit up, watch football with the rest of his loved ones and convey emotion, having been put up in a new house specially designed to cater for his needs.
“He has not been home very long, we treat him now,” Abderrahim said. “I have to say that since he’s at home it is definitely much better than before in the hospital.
“He knows of where he is, he’s back in a familiar environment with his family. He is no longer in a coma. He’s just awake.
“He sleeps, he sneezes, he eats, he burps, but it is not like he gets out of bed. He’s very bedridden and very dependent on us.
“On his good days, there’s a form of communication, as an example, confirmation with his eyebrows or a smile. However, you notice that he can’t last that quite long.
“We speak to him like he’s not sick. We take him into our discussions and we watch football with him in the living room, for example.
“He then watches. You notice he likes that very much. He often shows emotions. Sometimes he is emotional, but often there’s also a smile.
This makes you really appreciate a smile.”
His father Mohammed added: “We must take care of him at our very best. We try to do ourselves.”
Following Nouri’s diagnosis, Ajax were forced to acknowledge that their on-field treatment of the player was inadequate and team doctor Don de Winter was relieved of his duties.
“Had this happened, it’s possible that Abdelhak could have come out at a better condition,” Van der Sar said in a statement. “This isn’t certain, but it is a possibility.”