By JONATHAN RAMNANANSINGH Tuesday, December 31 2013
AFTER a grim, brave three-month battle for life following a massive heart attack, former Trinidad and Tobago footballer Akeem Adams died yesterday at a hospital in Hungary where he was playing club football. Adams was only 22.
Adams, who was awaiting a heart transplant, suffered a stroke at the Varosmajor Heart Clinic in Hungary on Saturday night. The former Trinidad and Tobago footballer and Ferencvarosi Torna Club representative slipped into a coma and doctors advised his relatives there was nothing further medically that could be done for him. He died at 12.45 pm (TT time) yesterday.
Adams remained in hospital ever since suffering a massive heart attack at his Hungarian home-base on September 25. Upon his admittance to the clinic in September, the 22-year old athlete underwent three life-saving operations and received an artificial heart to support his vascular system.
Two weeks later, Adams’ left leg was amputated just below the knee due to necrosis (cell and tissue death) caused by poor blood circulation. The defender who also represented W Connection in the TT Pro League and Point Fortin Civic Centre (PFCC) in the top flight football league appeared to be on his way back to good health after having held conversations with family members and friends.
But on Saturday he suffered a stroke which left him in a coma from which he never recovered.
Yesterday morning, anxious members of the public monitored news reports some of which erroneously reported that Adams had died after being taken off of life support by his mother Ancilla Dick.
At about 12.45 pm, Adams’ local agent Dion Sosa confirmed to Newsday that the player had died but not because his life support was turned off. Sosa has been in contact with Adams’ uncle Ivan who is in Hungary.
“He died on his own. This was God’s call. He is at peace now. We wish to thank all of those who offered their support to Akeem and his family. He touched us all in so many ways,” Sosa said.
As news of Adams’ death spread across the major social media networks and local media houses, scores of supporters took to their personal blogs, Facebook and Twitter profiles to send condolences to the Adams family on their loss.
On the Ferencvarosi Torna club’s website, there was a post chronicling a history of Adams’ life achievements and concluded with, “The medical staff of Varosmajor Heart Clinic and Ferencvarosi Torna Club share the pain of the loss of Akeem Adams!”
Word of his death sent an outpouring of condolences from a cross-section of the population including Acting Prime Minister Errol Mc Leod who said last night, “On behalf of the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago, I extend heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr Akeem Adams and hope that his short presence on the football field was enjoyed by all.”
McLeod said it was with “deep sadness” that Government learnt of Adams’ death. A minute’s silence — in Adams’ memory — was observed during a press conference McLeod held.
The TT Football Association, (TTFA) in a release, expressed deep sadness on the passing of Adams and extended their condolences and sympathies on behalf of the officials and players.
TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee, in an immediate statement after receiving the news, said, “No words can fully express our grief and dismay on what has happened. We can only pass on all our thoughts and prayers to his family and hope they will get some strength from the outpouring of love and support from everyone over this period going back to the time that he suffered the heart attack some months ago. Everyone in our football fraternity is deeply affected by this. Not only was he a promising and dedicated footballer, but he was also a fine young man.”
Also extending words of comfort to Adams’ family and the nation was Minister of Sport Anil Roberts, who said it is always difficult for a parent to lose a son or daughter. He also declared that it was especially difficult in this case since the proud young national was taken away in what could have been the most productive and significant part of his professional career.
“As a father I cannot begin to imagine the grief and despair his family is feeling in these difficult moments, Akeem was a talented young man who dedicated his life and career to the sport he loved. He stood as an example to many on how to fully utilise all the gifts and talents bestowed on him by the Creator.
“He even faced his final challenge with an optimistic spirit and kept up the fight, right until the end. The people of Trinidad and Tobago lost one of their talented sons but I have no doubt that his legacy will certainly live on in our hearts and our minds. On behalf of the team at the Ministry of Sport and the Sports Company I offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Akeem Adams,” Roberts said.
Adams’ alma mater Presentation College, San Fernando held its annual awards ceremony yesterday for outstanding athletes of the 2013 season. The school’s football team coach and former tutor of Adams, Sean Cooper was at a loss for words when told of Adams’ death.
“Trinidad and Tobago has lost a gem. Akeem was never disrespectful. He had a lot of character as a young man. Today (yesterday), we are going to highlight the achievements of this school’s students over the past year and there’s going to be a lot of mixed feeling at the awards. He had such a bright future ahead of him. May he rest in peace,” Cooper said.
Born on April 13, 1991, Adams first entered the national programme at the Under-13 level in 2004 on a squad of players that prepared for the Caribbean Under-15 Championships. He would later become an integral part of the National Under 17 Team that defeated Jamaica at the Concacaf qualifiers in Kingston to qualify for the 2007 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in South Korea.
Adams played in that World Cup and two years later would go on to help the National Under-20 team book its place in the 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Egypt, where he also made appearances at FIFA’s second biggest world tournament.
His progress was consistent and he made his senior international debut for this country on January 22, 2012, against Finland at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, going on to make nine international appearances before joining Hungarian football club Ferencvárosi TC which was his final team up until the time of his passing.