Meet Jean-Pierre Adams: 33-year coma that can’t stop love

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The family of former France international Jean-Pierre Adams, whose life was brutally turned upside down in 1982, asks itself every year what gift to present him on key anniversaries.

Thirty-three years ago the beefy footballer, then 34, walked into a Lyon hospital for some routine surgery to correct a troublesome knee.

By the time he left, he would never talk, walk or move any of his limbs again.

His wife Bernadette has tended to him ever since, barely missing a day’s care over the last three decades.

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The 67-year-old can breathe on his own, without the assistance of a machine, and has his own room, where he spends most of the day in the type of modified bed normally found in a hospital.

Jean-Pierre Adams
Jean-Pierre Adams and family in 1972

Jean-Pierre’s disastrous surgery reduced a flamboyant character, who had risen from humble beginnings in Senegal, to one who has been in a persistent vegetative state ever since.

A France international player in the 1970s, Jean-Pierre is now incapable of nearly all voluntary movement but can digest food as well as open and close his eyes.

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Bernadette looks after her husband with an unfailing love — dressing, feeding and bathing him, turning him over in his bed to avoid sores, and often losing her own sleep to ensure he gets his.

It’s a measure of their bond that on the rare occasions Bernadette spends a night away from home, Jean-Pierre’s carers notice his mood seems to change.

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