Update: Michael Schumacher will soon be brought out of his coma. The seven-time Formula One world champion has been in an artificial coma since 29 December when he suffered a serious head injury in the alps. However, Schumacher's agent has confirmed that the sedation will now gradually be reduced to start the 'waking-up process'. Until now, Schumacher's condition has been reported as "stable," so this marks the first major change. According to Schumacher's agent, the process of 'waking up' the Formula One star may take quite a while.
Seven-time Formula One world champion, Michael Schumacher, was injured in a skiing accident in the Three Valleys region of the French Alps.
Schumacher, now 45, was skiing on an unmarked, off-piste slope when he fell and hit his head. Doctors at the Grenoble hospital where he is currently being treated have said that he would not have survived the impact had he not been wearing a helmet.
Jean-Francois Payen, head anaesthetist at the Grenoble hospital said in a news conference at the time: “We can say that his condition is extremely serious.” The team treating Schumacher went on to say: “For the moment we cannot tell you what the outcome will be.”
Schumacher was airlifted from the mountain to Grenoble, arriving at hospital with internal bleeding and lesions to the right side of his head. Doctors performed an operation to remove a clot on his brain and - until now - have been keeping Schumacher in an artificial coma as they work to reduce pressure on his brain. The team said it’s also important that they minimize any external stimuli and keep a good supply of oxygen flowing to the brain.
Former FIA medical delegate, Gary Hartstein has tweeted: “So what's next? Simply put, providing the brain with the most normal conditions possible, while avoiding usual ICU threats.”
“This means normal oxygenation and CO2 levels, normal blood flow. Normal blood sugar. Strictly avoiding fever. And any irritative seizures.”
In answer to the question "can Michael survive" the answer is a resounding YES. Remember that for the moment things are still very dynamic.
— Gary Hartstein (@former_f1doc) December 30, 2013
Current Formula One stars have been showing their support for Schumacher, including Jenson Button, who tweeted: “My thoughts are with Michael Schumacher at this tough time… Michael more than anyone has the strength to pull through this.”
My thoughts are with Michael Schumacher at this tough time.. Michael more than anyone has the strength to pull through this.
— Jenson Button (@JensonButton) December 29, 2013
Mercedes AMG F1, the team Schumacher most recently raced with, also tweeted: “All thoughts and prayer are with Michael and his family at this time.”
All thoughts and prayers are with Michael and his family at this time. We are monitoring closely the latest medical bulletins from Grenoble.
— MERCEDES AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) December 30, 2013
Michael Schumacher won his first world championship in 1994 – the same year that Ayrton Senna died – and he went on to defend his championship the following year. He then joined Ferrari in 1996 but wouldn't win another world championship until 2000, following a series of tight races with Mika Hakkinen. The win in 2000 would go on to spark a world championship streak for Schumacher that continued in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004.
It was at the end of the 2006 season that Schumacher announced he was retiring from racing in Formula One but he still had his hand in at Ferrari, where he continued development and testing of the cars. He came out of retirement in 2010 to race for the Mercedes AMG F1 team where he had three relatively unsucsessful seasons before retiring again at the end of the 2012 season.