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Schumacher 'blinked' during tests


Michael Schumacher. Photo: PA wire

Michael Schumacher. Photo: PA wire

Michael Schumacher. Photo: PA wire

FORMULA One legend Michael Schumacher is "responding to instructions" as medics gradually bring him out of his coma, according to reports.

It has also been claimed that the seven-time world champion has blinked during brain tests.

Citing "very reliable sources", L'Equipe newspaper said Schumacher has undergone a number of neurological tests since Monday and he has responded "positively".

Schumacher (45) was placed into an artificial coma after suffering traumatic brain injury in his near-fatal skiing accident on December 29 in the French resort of Meribel. Shutting down function can give the brain time to heal.

Medics have now started the process to end his coma by gradually reducing the dosage of powerful anaesthetic drugs.

And yesterday the newspaper revealed Schumacher had blinked during the "first stage" of brain tests.

Sky News quoted sources saying Schumacher was "responding to instructions".

It is not known if the information from the two separate reports is linked and therefore whether Schumacher blinked on command.

But Professor Jean-Luc Truelle, the former head of the neurology department of the Foch hospital in Suresnes, told L'Equipe that once the patient opens their eyes there would be a "re-establishment of some kind of communication, which we verify through simple commands", such as "open your eyes, shut your eyes, squeeze your hand".

"Schumacher appears to show this type of reawakening," wrote L'Equipe.

The newspaper said it was "undoubtedly the best news" since his accident.

Earlier in the day, following media interest worldwide, Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm was forced to confirm that Schumacher was being brought round from his coma. She had initially responded to the reports by telling fans to treat all unofficial statements as speculation.

She said: "Michael's sedation has recently been reduced to initiate a process of awakening which may take a long time.