Former footballer Jean-Pierre Adams has died at the age of 73, according to his former clubs Nimes Olympique, Paris Saint-Germain, and Nice. Adams went into a coma in 1982 after a botched knee operation.
Adams, a towering central defender, began his career in Fontainebleu, where he helped his hometown team win the amateur championship, before moving to Nimes to join the city’s first division side.
Within two years, Adams had not only finished second in Nimes, but he was also playing for France, making him one of the first Black players to do so.
With the national team, Adams and Marius Trésor formed the “Garde Noire,” or “Black Guard,” a central defensive partnership.
“We learned of Jean-Pierre Adams’ passing this morning,” Nimes wrote on Twitter. “He had worn the colors of Nimes Olympique 84 times and with Marius Trésor made up ‘the black guard’ of the French team.
“The club offers its most sincere condolences to his loved ones and his family.”
Adams, a Senegalese native, went on to play in France’s top flight for nine seasons, also representing Nice and Paris Saint-Germain and earning 22 caps for the French national team.
“Nice was heartbroken to learn of the passing of Jean-Pierre Adams, who fell into a coma on March 17, 1982,” Nice wrote on Twitter.
“The former defender wore the colors of the Gym 145 times from 1973 to 1977. OGC Nice stands with the pain of his relatives who have looked after him for 39 years.”
Nice says a tribute will be paid to Adams at their home match against Monaco on September 19.
Adams was admitted to the hospital on March 17, 1982, for a routine operation on a torn tendon in his knee. The hospital staff was on strike when the date arrived.
“The female anesthetist was looking after eight patients, one after the other, like an assembly line,” his wife Bernadette, who cared for Adams at their home throughout his coma, told CNN back in 2016.
“Jean-Pierre was supervised by a trainee, who was repeating a year, who later admitted in court: ‘I was not up to the task I was entrusted with.’
“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.”
They never did, and there were numerous mistakes made by both the anesthetist and the trainee.
Adams had been badly intubated, with one tube blocking the pathway to his lungs rather than ventilating them, causing him to be oxygen-depleted, resulting in cardiac arrest.
“PSG has lost, this Monday 6 September, one of its glorious elders,” PSG wrote on Twitter.
“From 1977 to 1979, Jean-Pierre Adams wore the Parisian colors as a defender for the Red and Blue and the French team. The Club offers its condolences to his family and loved ones.”