Schumacher in coma, ‘critical’ after France ski accident

30 December 2013 | Sports

The retired seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher was in a critical condition yesterday after suffering severe brain trauma in a skiing accident in the French Alps, doctors said. The German racing legend, who turns 45 on Friday, had been skiing off-piste with his 14-year-old son in the upmarket Meribel resort when he fell and hit his head on a rock. He was “suffering a serious brain trauma with coma on his arrival, which required an immediate neurosurgical operation”, according to the hospital in the south-eastern French city of Grenoble where he is being treated. “He remains in a critical condition.” Shortly after the accident Meribel resort director Christophe Gernigon-Lecomte said Schumacher, who had been wearing a helmet, was “conscious but a little agitated”. But when Schumacher fell into coma, doctors realised the damage was worse than initially feared. Two mountain police officers who gave first aid to Schumacher said he was suffering “severe cranial trauma” when they got to him and a helicopter was brought in to evacuate him within 10 minutes. A renowned Parisian neurologist, Dr Gerard Saillant, arrived at the Grenoble hospital in a police car to help take charge of the famous patient. Schumacher’s wife Corinna was at his side with his two children, the hospital said. The hospital statement was signed by the facility’s neurosurgeon, the professor in charge of its anaesthesia/revival unit, and the hospital’s deputy director. News of Schumacher’s accident stunned the Formula One community and his former teammates joined thousands on Twitter in wishing him a speedy recovery. “My thoughts are with Michael Schumacher at this tough time... Michael, more than anyone, has the strength to pull through this,” tweeted British F1 driver Jenson Button. Schumacher’s former teammate at Benetton Martin Brundle wrote on Twitter: “Come on Michael, give us one of those race stints at pure qualifying pace to win through, like you used to. You can do it.” Brazilian Formula One racing driver Felipe Massa said he was “praying for God to protect you my brother!! I wish you a speedy recovery Michael.”

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