Jean Pierre Adams is a former professional French footballer who has spent the last 37 years in a coma following an error during a knee operation. Before famous French footballers of African ancestry, we know today such as Marcel Desailly from Ghana or Kylian Mbappe from Cameroon or Ngolo Kante from Mali; the path had already been laid by Jean-Pierre Adams who was originally from Senegal.
He became one of the first professional footballers with African ancestry from West Africa to join the famous French footballers: Les Blues. Before that, we had only seen African French players from North Africa or Martinique. Jean Pierre Adams was born in 1948 and played the position of central defender superbly until tragedy struck on March 17, 1982, when he went into a coma due to medical negligence.
Starting from humble beginnings in Senegal, he rose up and had an extremely successful career as a professional footballer even playing for the French national team during the 1970s. Once his career started to get near the end, he decided to have knee surgery for a troublesome knee – and this is where everything went downhill.
The hospital was grossly understaffed due to medical personal striking at the time, the anesthetist was looking after eight different patients at the time and for some reason even though Jean Pierre Adams’s surgery was not vital they did not cancel it. An intern was looking over the operation despite having no prior experience and at one point Jean Pierre was starved of so much oxygen he suffered catastrophic brain damage. This led to a massive cardiac arrest.
Bernadette has kept him alive ever since, refusing to order his euthanization, believing that he will rise from his coma one day. This is because Jean Pierre can still breath without any assistance, therefore, she spends her time looking after him. She changes his clothes, speaks to him and tells him stories of his grandchildren.
There is currently a company working on a project that may allow people to communicate with loved ones in a coma, called mindBEAGLE, they are hoping to perform trails with Jean Pierre and his wife. Maybe one day this tragic tale will have a happy ending?