Ajax footballer Abdelhak Nouri diagnosed with serious, permanent brain damage

Abdelhak Nouri sustained severe and lasting brain damage when he suffered from heart arrhythmias during an Ajax practice match against Werder Bremem on Saturday, the Amsterdam team revealed in a statement on Thursday.

"In the intensive care unit of the hospital in Innsbruck, Nouri's brain functions were further tested over the past few days", Ajax reports. "The diagnosis that was made is that a large part of his brain no longer functions and that the chance of recovery of these crucial brain functions is nil."

According to NOS, the brain damage is likely due to the fact that Nouri got too little oxygen when he collapsed. Emergency services resuscitated him on the field for several minutes before he was rushed to hospital. There he's been kept in a medically induced sleep. He has now been released for medical transport.

"The expectation is that Nouri will soon be taken to a hospital in Amsterdam for further care", according to Ajax. The team is also communicating on behalf of Nouri's family. "They let us know that they still have hope and ask that we don't stop the prayers."

"This is the worst conceivable message", Ajax director Edwin van der Sar said, according to NOS. "It's terrible. We sympathize enormously with his parents, his brothers and sisters and other loved ones. This also hit Ajax hard, even though we knew we had to keep this scenario in mind. These were uncertain days, in which a lot of people sympathized in different ways. That is greatly appreciated."

"I also noticed that this has been on the whole club's mind since Saturday", Van der Sar continued. "Abdelhak is such a great talent, but unfortunately we will never know how far his star would've gone if this had not happened."

Nouri went through his entire youth training with Ajax and was considered one of the club's greatest talents, according to NOS. He played 15 matches for the first team and scored one goal. Last season he was chosen as best player in the Jupiler League, where he played with Jong Ajax.