Bejjeh’s shooting guard Rony Abou Jaoude was facing “a crucial 24 hours” Friday after suffering a brain hemorrhage in a car accident early Thursday, sources close to the player said.
The sources said Abou Jaoude remained “critically ill and in intensive care” for a second day as medics attend to him in the intensive care unit at Middle East Hospital in Bsalim.
He is currently in stable condition, but the sources said that if “he passes through the next 24 hours his chances of survival will increase.”
“The thoughts of the basketball union, its clubs and players are with Rony Abou Jaoude, his family and Bejjeh club. We hope to hear positive news about Rony, who has been a great servant to the Lebanese game and the league at Bejjeh and several other clubs,” head of the Lebanese Basketball Union Robert Abu Abdallah said.
At the time of the accident, Abou Jaoude was on his way back to Samaya in Jounieh, where he resides. It’s believed he lost control of the car – a Toyota Celica – when passing near Yassouh al-Malak, before colliding into a roadblock after the vehicle veered off the road and turned upside down.
Speaking from the national team camp in Iran, Lebanon and Champville manager Ghassan Sarkis voiced his hope that Abou Jaoude would survive. “This is a massive shock to us all and we just hope that he will pull through safely. We have prayed for him as a group, hoping that the damage will be repaired. That is all you can wish for.”
Although not a household name, Abou Jaoude has been a remarkable player in the Lebanese league over the last seven years. He played for Sagesse in the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 seasons as a shooting guard, helping the team stay in the top tier despite financial constraints and the departure of most of their stars in 2006.
He joined Antranik in 2009, then moved to Hoops the next season before he ended up in Bejjeh, where he earned the captaincy for his leadership and sportsmanship.
Close friend and former teammate Nadim Souaid remained confident that Abou Jaoude would pull through. “I am shocked and saddened by what happened to Rony. He is a great guy and friend who wasn’t just my teammate for long time but also a brother who I have spent a lot of my time and days with. I share with him a lot of beautiful memories. He was always smiling, and I know that he will smile again with God’s will,” he said.
“Now that we are a few days away from a holy month, I pray for God and the saints to keep him alive and bring him back to us and his family.”
Since the accident, messages of goodwill for the 25-year-old have poured in from every Lebanese League basketball club. Sports fans and fellow players also expressed their shock and support on Twitter and Facebook. Hundreds flocked the hospital Thursday and Friday, organizing a candlelight march in solidarity with the player.