Former France defender Jean-Pierre Adams has died aged 73 after spending 39 years in a coma.
Adams, who played for Nice and Paris Saint-Germain and represented his country on 22 occasions, had been in a vegetative state since 1982 after a routine knee operation went wrong.
During the surgery there had been a problem with Adams’ supply of anaesthetic, while a cushion used to prop him up had slipped without medical staff noticing.
Adams suffocated and suffered a cardiac arrest during the operation.
According to Adams’ wife, Bernadette, the anaesthetist failed to spot the signs that he was lacking oxygen ‘because of his skin colour’.
On the morning of his operation, Adams is said to have told Bernadette: ‘It’s all fine, I’m in great shape.’
Adams, who was born in Senegal, spent the next year of his life in a coma in hospital before he was taken home to be cared for by his wife.
The former defender was able to open his eyes and digest food but was unable to move or talk.
‘He senses that it is not me feeding him and looking after him,’ Bernadette told CNN last year.
‘It’s the nurses who tell me, saying he is not the same.
‘I think he feels things. He must recognize the sound of my voice as well.’
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