Former France footballer, Jean-Pierre Adams, has passed away after being in a coma for 39 years. The ex-footballer was admitted into Lyon Hospital for knee surgery in 1982. Unfortunately, something went wrong with his supply of anesthetic drugs and he fell into a coma. He died at the age of 73 on Sept. 6, 2021.
The French professional footballer was born on March 10, 1948, in Dakar, Senegal. Adams’s football career kicked off after his parents sent him to further his education at Collège Saint-Louis located in Quebec. After receiving basic schooling he did some factory work.
He played football for a period with l’Entente Bagneaux-Fontainebleau-Nemours (EBFN). After which he headed into Military services where he received a recommendation to Nîmes.
While in Nîmes he attended a party where he met his wife Bernadette. Adams married his wife in 1969. Their marriage was frowned upon — even though marriages between a European and a Black person were decriminalized. They have two children together.
Adams has been described as physically strong, patriotic, determined, and an overall force of nature. According to BBC News, he was a defender for Nice and Paris St-Germain. He made over 140 appearances for these teams. The footballer also made 84 appearances for Nimes.
Nimes stated they were sending Adams’s family and loved ones their “most sincere condolences.” Nice plans on paying him tribute before their September 19 home game against Monaco.
The day that Adams went in for surgery many of the Lyon Hospital’s staff were on strike. According to BBC News, the footballer decided to still have the operation to repair the damaged tendon in his knee. However, his wife told CNN that she never received a call about the strike or that the hospital was short-staffed.
Given it was not a vital operation, that the hospital was on strike, they were missing doctors and this woman was looking after eight patients, in two different rooms, someone should have called me to say they were going to delay the operation
The anesthesiologist was overseeing eight patients, including Adams. However, the footballer was mainly supervised by a trainee, who later stated that they were “not up to the task I was entrusted with.” The mistakes made between the two caused Adams to suffer brain damage and cardiac arrest. They were not punished until the mid-1990s and it was basically a slap on the wrist — a one-month suspension and a 750 euro fine ($890.14).
After 15 months of being hospitalized Adams was released into his wife’s care. She tended to him in their home in Nimes until his dying day.
He is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, and various other family members and friends. May he rest in peace.
Written by Sheena Robertson
Face 2 Face Africa: The sad story of Jean-Pierre Adams, the French soccer star who has been in coma for 37 years after botched surgery; by MICHAEL ELI DOKOSI
CNN: Former footballer Jean-Pierre Adams dies following 39-year coma; by Matias Grez and Piers Edwards
BBC News: Jean-Pierre Adams: Former France international dies after 39 years in coma
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