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No Man Has Been in a Coma Longer Than Him

Former soccer star just reached the 37-year mark
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2019 6:28 PM CDT
   (Getty/Jackie Nam)

(Newser) – Jean-Pierre Adams went to the hospital in July 1982 for what should have been routine surgery on his knee. He's been asleep ever since. Newsweek reports that on July 7, the former French soccer star's coma became the third-longest in history. Women have the longest two, giving Adams the unwanted distinction of having the longest coma of any male. Adams slipped into the coma at age 34, with his playing days behind him but as he was just embarking on a coaching career. He injured a tendon while working out, and before surgery, Newsweek reports that something went wrong with his anesthesia that resulted in cardiac arrest and brain damage. Today, he can only open and close his eyes and digest blended food, CNN reported in a 2016 story.

Remarkably, the 71-year-old Adams is not being cared for in a medical facility. Instead, his wife, Bernadette, cares for him at home near Nimes, France, with the help of nurses and therapists. "There is an activity in his mind, but it is not the right sort of activity because there was so much destruction of his brain," Bernadette previously told UK Times. Still, she thinks he is aware of his surroundings on some level, and she holds out hope that medical advances could someday bring him out of the coma. "I think he feels things," she told CNN. "He must recognize the sound of my voice as well." According to Guinness, the longest coma in history was that of American Edwarda O'Bara, which lasted about 42 years before her death in 2012. (Comatose woman wakes, learns it's the 21st century.)

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