Israeli soccer legend Avi Cohen declared brain dead
Israeli soccer legend Avi Cohen was declared brain dead on Tuesday by the medical committee at Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital.
Cohen, 54, was critically hurt in a traffic accident in Ramat Gan on December 20. The former soccer player was riding his motorcycle when he was reportedly hit by a car near the Diamond Exchange. He was brought to Ichilov Hospital where he underwent immediate surgery and from there was placed in intensive care.
Cohen is considered one of the greatest Israeli soccer players of all time. He was born in Cairo and began his career with Maccabi Tel Aviv in 1975. Within a year was a regular member of the Israeli national team. He quickly caught the eye of several clubs, including Liverpool, which, at the time, was the dominant force in English soccer.
In 1979, he joined the Reds for a fee of $450,000, becoming the first Israeli to play for an English team.
Cohen's greatest moment in a Liverpool shirt came on September 25, 1979, when he was selected in the starting 11 for his team's game against Aston Villa. The Reds, who were reigning league champions at the time, needed to win to retain their title - and things looked to be going according to plan when they took an early lead. Just before half time, however, Cohen scored an own goal to level the score.
But five minutes after the restart, he made amends by scoring his side's second goal. Liverpool went on to win 4-1 and the championship remained on Merseyside.
The next season - his last in England - Cohen was part of the Liverpool squad that won the European Cup, before returning to Maccabi Tel Aviv.
After a brief period in Scotland, where he played 15 games for Glasgow Rangers, Cohen returned to Maccabi for a third spell, before retiring as a player in 1990. He has since coached six teams and, for the past five years, been chairman of the Israel Professional Footballers Association.
Cohen's son, Tamir Cohen, is a midfielder for the Bolton Wanderers in the United Kingdom. Tamir Cohen flew back to Israel after the accident to be by his father's bedside.
The familys choises are now unplugging him from the machines, keep them working(like Ariel Sharons case), or donating organs.
I wasn't able to see him live and only heard stories about him, but those were some stories.. he was the ultimate 'maccabist' and captain, and a source of insperation to many young kids growing up dreaming of becomming a football player.. RIP Avi