Seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher remains in a coma after falling and hitting his head in a skiing accident in the French Alps.
Schumacher, aged forty-four, was with his son skiing off-piste when the accident occurred; after initially walking away he collapsed around an hour later and was rushed to hospital in the city of Grenoble. ‘Immediate neurosurgical intervention’ was required.
In a press conference at 11:00 CET on Monday surgeons emphasised that Schumacher’s life was saved by the helmet he was wearing, but stated he ‘remains in a critical condition’ and is ‘fighting for his life’ after bruising to his brain was discovered in overnight scans.
His wife Corinna and two children were joined at his bedside by FIA supremo and former Ferrari manager Jean Todt with Professor Gerard Saillant also attending. Saillant, an expert in brain and spine injury, oversaw Schumacher’s recovery after a horrifying crash at the 1999 British Grand Prix broke both his legs.
The accident is the latest in a line of incidents for the former Champion who retired from F1 at the end of 2012. In 2009 a potential comeback with Ferrari to replace the injured Felipe Massa was postponed after he fell from his motorbike, injuring his neck and spine.
Massa, who was the German’s protege and team-mate at Ferrari in 2006, tweeted “I’m praying for God to protect you, brother!”.
He was joined in messages of support by past and present F1 stars including Johnny Herbert, now a pundit with SkyF1’s television coverage:
“Shocking news on the 7 time F1 Champion Michael Schumacher. The strength you showed on track will get you through this mate.”
2009 Champion Jenson Button added “My thoughts are with Michael Schumacher at this tough time.. Michael more than anyone has the strength to pull through this.”
Doctors are monitoring his progress ‘hour-by-hour’ and only plan to update the media when significant changes occur in Schumacher’s state.