Schumacher in 'critical' condition
Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher is in a coma and remains in a "critical" condition after suffering head injuries in a skiing accident.PT0M51S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-302cc 620 349 December 30, 2013
Formula one legend Michael Schumacher is in a critical condition in hospital after suffering a brain haemorrhage in a skiing accident in France.
French television station BFMTV and local paper Le Dauphine Libere reported on Sunday, local time, that the condition of the record seven-time F1 champion had deteriorated from serious to critical.
Grenoble University Hospital released a statement saying that the former German champion had suffered a "severe head injury with coma", and had undergone neurosurgery, Le Dauphine Libere reported.
Michael Schumacher in Korea, 2012. Photo: Reuters
Jean-Marc Grenier, the director of care at Grenoble University Hospital, said that Schumacher was admitted to the hospital in a coma at 12.40pm.
"He suffered [on] his arrival a severe head injury with coma, which required neurosurgical intervention immediately. He remains in a critical situation," he said.
BFMTV said it had been informed by a medical source that Schumacher suffered a brain haemorrhage when he fell and struck his head on a rock.
Jean Marc Grenier: the director of care at Grenoble University Hospital addresses the media. Photo: AFP
Schumacher’s manager Sabine Kehm said that Schumacher sustained head injuries from the accident in the French skiing resort of Meribel.
Kehm said Schumacher was on a private skiing trip and "fell on his head".
"We ask for understanding that we cannot give running updates on his condition. He wore a helmet and was not alone," Kehm said.
Michael Schumacher in critical condition after ski crash
Michael Schumacher, pictured here while racing for Mercedes, is in a serious condition after suffering a brain hemorrhage in a skiing accident in France. Photo: Reuters
The resort said that Schumacher's 14-year-old son was skiing with his father when the accident happened.
Schumacher, who reportedly owns property at the resort, was skiing off-piste with others.
'Severe cranial trauma'
Earlier, the French Mountain Gendarmerie said Schumacher, 44, was wearing a helmet when he had a hard fall at the Meribel resort and that he sustained a "relatively serious" head injury. At the time, the gendarmerie said his life was not in danger.
But when Schumacher then 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.
In a statement, the resort said Schumacher was conscious when rescuers arrived. Schumacher was initially taken to a local hospital and later transferred to a hospital in Grenoble for a fuller examination and a battery of tests.
Those tests were still ongoing, the resort said, adding that orthopedic and renowned Parisian neurologist Gerard Saillant had travelled from Paris to the Grenoble hospital in a police car to examine Schumacher.
The resort said he was skiing off-piste when he fell and hit his head on a rock.
"He was shocked, a little rattled but conscious," Christophe Gernigon-Lecomte, the director of tourism at Meribel, said in a statement.
German news agency DPA said it was Saillant who operated on Schumacher when he broke his leg during a crash at the Silverstone race course in 1999.
Drivers tweet get-well wishes
Formula one fans have reportedly gathered outside the hospital, while formula one drivers are posting their get-well wishes on Twitter.
Brazilian driver Felipe Massa (@Felipe1Massa) posted a photograph of himself with Schumacher alongside the words: "I am praying for you my brother !! I hope you have a quick recovery !! God bless you Michael."
Other drivers wrote:
I hope Michael Schumacher will get well soon! All my best to him and his family #gutebesserung— Adrian Sutil (@SutilAdrian) December 29, 2013
Citing BFMTV, CNN said that former formula one driver Olivier Panis of France visited the hospital in Grenoble but was not able to see Schumacher.
"I will come back tomorrow," he said. "Yes I am worried."
Another former driver and former Schumacher teammate, Martin Brundle, urged the champion to fight in hospital just like on the track where he earned a record 91 race wins.
"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," Brundle tweeted.
Other German athletes also sent get-well wishes.
Bayern Munich and Germany footballer Jerome Boateng tweeted: "Get well soon, Michael Schumacher."
His sentiments were echoed by Arsenal winger Lukas Podolski.
Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki also took to Twitter, saying: "Uhh, just heard about the terrible accident of Michael Schumacher ... Get well soon!!"
In addition to the crash at Silverstone, Schumacher was seriously hurt in a motorcycling accident in Spain in February 2009 when he suffered neck and spine injuries. He recovered sufficiently from those injuries to make a comeback in F1.
Formula one folklore
Schumacher retired in 2006 after winning five straight titles with Ferrari following two earlier ones with Benetton. He came back to the sport in 2010 and drove for three seasons for Mercedes without much success before retiring again last year.
Since his debut in 1991, the German towered over the sport, winning more formula one world titles and races than any other. He had a record 91 wins.
Schumacher's duels in his heyday with Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve, fired by an unquenchable competitive spirit, have gone down in formula one folklore.
Schumacher was born in January 1969 near Cologne, Germany, the son of a bricklayer who also ran the local go-kart track, where his mother worked in the canteen.
He celebrates his 45th birthday next Friday.
smh.com.au with AP, DPA, AFP