Abdelhak Nouri's brother says former Ajax player' is able to communicate

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Abdelhak Nouri's brother has confirmed there has been a slight improvement in the young Ajax midfielder's condition and that he is able to communicate with his family.

Nouri -- known affectionately as 'Appie' -- has been in a coma for over a year, suffering "severe and permanent" brain damage following a collapsing on the pitch during a preseason friendly against Werder Bremen.

"When I compare it to before, it is much better now," Appie's brother Abderrahim Nouri told NOS. "Just looking at Nouri's neurological state, he is doing better.

"But physically he is regressing. That is due to the fact that he doesn't move. He lies in bed all day. So neurologically it is better, physically it is worse than before.

Abderrahim also said that his brother has left his bed on various occasions and that he is now able to communicate with his family.

"Sometimes he comes out of bed to sit in his wheelchair," he added. "But it is very difficult -- before it was easier.

"But it goes up and down. His resistance and immune system fluctuate a lot.

"I don't want to go into details but he has gone through a really rough time. That is normal for anybody who has neurological and brain damage. Those time where tough.

"There is [now] communication, [while] in the beginning there was nothing. He was just in coma, with his eyes closed and slowly he was waking up a little bit more.

"Since December, January his awareness is a little bit better and is there a little bit of communication. So when we asked him something, he could confirm by opening his mouth or raising his eyebrows. So that is how we communicate now."

Abderrahim also said he still believed Appie could make a full recovery and has been heartened by others who have come forward with similar stories.

"Yes it is possible, we believe [as Muslims] everything is possible," he said when asked whether he thought his brother's condition could improve even further. "Complete recovery is possible, and every other scenario too.

"Nouri's situation is unique, but hundreds of people came to us to with likewise stories, where people recovered, despite what the doctors said.

"We hope for a complete recovery. If that is not possible in this life, than he will get that in his next life."

In June, Ajax released a statement in which they took responsibility for the "inadequate" on-field medical treatment provided for Nouri following his collapse.