Jean-Pierre Adams: The footballer who has been in a coma since 1982

  • Rob Swan
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Jean-Pierre Adams may not be a name that many football fans are overly familiar with, but everyone who loves the sport should be aware of the former Paris Saint-Germain and France defender’s heartbreaking story.

Adams played for several French clubs including Nice and the aforementioned PSG before his life was tragically turned upside down in 1982.

The France international, who was 34 at the time, walked into a Lyon hospital to undergo routine surgery to correct a problem with his knee.

But almost 40 years later, the Dakar-born defender remains in a coma after the surgery went horribly wrong.

A major blunder involving an almost lethally wrong dose of anaesthetic provided by the surgeon’s anaesthetist saw him starved of oxygen, which resulted in catastrophic brain damage.

Adams, by the time he left the hospital, would never walk, talk or voluntarily move any of his muscles again.

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The centre-back, now 73 years old and a grandfather, has been lovingly cared for by his wife Bernadette for almost four whole decades.

"No one ever forgets to give Jean-Pierre presents, whether it's his birthday, Christmas or Father's Day," Bernadette told CNN in 2020.

Her husband spends most of the day in his own room at the house, located in the south of France, and can breathe on his own without the assistant of a machine.

"We buy presents like a T-shirt or a jumper because I dress him in his bed -- he changes clothes every day," Bernadette wife continued. "I'll buy things so that he can have a nice room, such as pretty sheets, or some scent. He used to wear Paco Rabanne but his favourite one stopped so now I buy Sauvage by Dior."

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Bernadette dresses, feeds and bathes her husband every day and often sacrifices her own sleep to ensure Jean-Pierre gets his.

When she spends a night away from home, Jean-Pierre’s carers notice his mood seems to change.

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"He senses that it is not me feeding him and looking after him," his wife of 52 years added. "It's the nurses who tell me, saying he is not the same.

"I think he feels things. He must recognise the sound of my voice as well."

Bernadette is clearly an extraordinary and truly remarkable woman. She still holds hope that her husband’s condition will miraculously improve one day.

“Everybody hopes that he will come out of the coma. But the more time that passes, the more it troubles me,” she said.

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"His condition does not get any worse, so who knows? If one day, medical science evolves, then why not?

"Will there be a day when they'll know how to do something for him? I don't know."

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