No one but a parent knows how I feel, says father after son’s car accident

Salem had hoped to study abroad in September and had a large birthday bash planned. Instead he is in intensive care.

Salem Al Neyadi keeps vigil at his comatose son’s bedside at Seha’s Al Ain Hospital.. Jeffrey E Biteng
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ABU DHABI // Salem Al Neyadi has one son, Ali, who turned 20 a few days ago.

Ali had hoped to study abroad in September but now he is in the intensive care unit of Seha’s Al Ain Hospital with his family at his bedside.

Mr Al Neyadi prays that his son lives to see his next birthday.

“No one but a parent knows how I feel,” Mr Al Neyadi said.

“You hear stories and you feel sorry for people who have gone through such a thing, but then this happens to you.”


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In January, Ali was in a car with a friend on their way to Dubai to apply for a scholarship when their vehicle crashed. Police could not determine who was driving or the cause of the accident.

What they found when they arrived was Ali in the middle of the road and his friend’s body on the other side. The car was cut into two.

Ali’s family did not recognise him, such were his injuries.

“They called me hours later and were not even sure if it was my son or not,” Mr Al Neyadi said. “When I went to the hospital I couldn’t even recognise my own son.”

He was told his son would die within days of the January 15 accident.

“It’s been two months and now he breathes on his own,” Mr Al Neyadi said.

However, Ali is in a coma and has brain damage.

“He will never be the same,” his father said. “We hope he will open his eyes one day but he can never regain full consciousness.”

While police could not confirm the cause of the accident, Ali’s father believes it was because the boys were speeding and using their phones.

Ali was popular on social media and had posted a video on Snapchat a few minutes before the accident.

“I lost my brother, my friend and the only person I had in this world,” Ali’s sister Aysha said. “We were always together and I was always asking him for advice, what to study, what major to choose. I have no one now.”

On the day of the accident, she had asked her brother to drop her off at university.

“I don’t want anyone to go what we are going through,” she said. “I now wear my seat belt, but you shouldn’t wait for something like this to happen to wear it.”