Schumacher 'fighting for his life' as he remains in induced coma
Press conference reveals that the seven-time World Champion is still in a 'critical' condition
Published 30/12/2013 | 02:30
Doctors have confirmed that Michael Schumacher remains in a critical condition and fighting for his life after sustaining serious head injuries in an off-piste skiing accident at a resort in the French Alps.
Schumacher, 44, was airlifted to Grenoble after falling heavily and hitting his head on a rock while skiing on the unmarked slope at the Méribel resort with friends and his 14-year-old son and his condition will be monitored on an ‘hour by hour basis’.
Doctors in Grenoble said he was in a coma when he arrived at the hospital and had to be operated on immediately. They said his condition remained "extremely serious" and he was being kept in an artificial coma, but that it was too early to give an accurate prognosis.
They also confirmed that reports that Schumacher underwent a second operation were wide of the mark.
"We cannot tell you what the outcome will be yet," the team treating him told a news conference.
Professor Marc Penaud, the deputy director of Grenoble clinic, confirmed that the former F1 champion had arrived at the clinic at around 12:40pm on Sunday with a severe brain trauma and was immediately operated on.
Jean Francois Payen, the clinic's head of anaesthetics, said Schumacher had suffered heavy bruising on the brain and the doctors had tried to focus on stopping the swelling of the brain.
Payen said the impact had been on right hand side of Schumacher's head and that it was clear that without the helmet he was wearing the former world champion would not have survived the crash.
The clinical team at Grenoble said they were currently concentrating on supplying oxygen to his brain and keeping the body at the recommended temperature at 34-35 degrees.
Concerning the details of the crash on the slopes, doctors said that Schumacher had impacted on a rock with the right-hand side of his head. The athlete had been conscious after the crash but didn't answer questions and was displaying "erratic" behaviour.
Schumacher retired from F1 for the final time in 2012 after a three-season comeback with Mercedes.
Schumacher, who also raced for Jordan, Benetton and Ferrari, won the last of his world titles in 2004.
He won two with Benetton in 1994 and 1995 before moving to Ferrari and winning five in a row from 2000. The German has 91 career wins.
His return to the sport with Mercedes after a spell in retirement was less successful. He managed just one podium finish in his three years with the team and a best end-of-season placing of eighth in 2011.
During his first period of retirement, in 2009, he was taken to hospital after a motorbike crash during testing at a circuit in Cartagena, Spain.
He did not suffer serious injuries on that occasion.
Meribel, an upmarket resort, hosted the ice hockey and women's alpine skiing at the 1992 Winter Olympics.
Meanwhile, former American president Bill Clinton has wished the German racing star the best on his road to recovery.
“Thinking today of Michael Schumacher and grateful for all he's done with the Clinton Foundation and for others. My prayers are with him and his family,” Mr Clinton wrote on social media site Twitter.