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Michael Schumacher in critical condition after skiing accident Updated: 11:15, 14:00 CET
Michael Schumacher in critical condition after skiing accident
Seven times Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher is fighting for his life in the intensive care unit of the University clinic in Grenoble. The German, who was spending a few days of vacation in the ski resort of Meribel with his family, fell shortly after 11:00am and hit his head hard on a rock.
Initial reports said that Schumacher was rattled, but conscious – his helmet seemingly having done it’s job. But after being airlifted to a hospital in nearby Moutier, his condition apparently deteriorated badly and Schumacher fell into a coma while being transferred to Grenoble. Traumatologist Professor Gérard Saillant, who worked on Schumacher after his 1999 accident at Silverstone and after his 2009 bike accident, rushed to the hospital, where emergency brain surgery was performed. Latest information describe Schumachers condition as ‘critical and life-threatening’.
During the night Jean Todt and Ross Brawn, both part of Ferrari’s early 2000s ‘dream team’ arrived at the hospital to be at Schumacher’s side. Former F1 pilot Olivier Panis also arrived at the hospital in the evening. Shortly after the news broke both Schumacher’s homepage and that of his brother Ralf broke down due to the enormous traffic caused by worried fans.
Update 11:15 CET
Doctors of the Grenoble hospital, in which Schumacher is being treated since last night have given further information in a press conference at 11:00. According to them Schumacher is in extremely critical condition and was put in hypothermic state (lowered body temperature) and artificial coma to assist with treating the numerous haematoma in his brain. The sheer amount of brain injuries, caused by a highspeed blunt impact on the head make it almost inevitable that there will be lasting damages to Schumacher’s brain, yet the doctors currently feel unable to estimate whether there will be debilitating effects.
Asked whether Schumacher was fighting for his life, Doctors answered affirmative and stressed that his condition is very critical. They explained that current therapeutic measures are mainly targeted at getting more time for neccessary measures to save Schumacher’s life. They didn’t exclude the possibility of the condition to deteriorate even further.
If you are of a religious disposition, it might be a good time to direct a plea for help at your respective deity.
Update 14:00 CET
Without advice from a M.D. the 1100 press conference didn’t make much sense, so I phoned a friend, who is a surgeon and asked him to make sense of it for me and the verdict is encouraging and devastating all the same. 🙁 Here’s what he told me: “Their answers were very evasive, but they more or less admitted that there will be lasting damage. That doesn’t mean that he’ll be getting crayons and colouring books for christmas for the rest of his life, but it is likely in a cynical way. The whole situation reminds me of Karl Wendlingers crash in Monaco 1994. Back then he was kept in a coma for weeks and chances were less than good for him to wake up and be able to live a normal life, but he did, but it took him a year of rehab training. Brain injuries are medicine’s idea of a lottery. You may spend the rest of your life in a persistent vegetative state or recover with slight changes to your personality or cognitive capabilities”.
A prominent example of the latter case is Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond, who suffered major brain injuries and the only lasting damage is (by his own accord) ‘that I now like celery’.