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Michael Schumacher paralysed and speechless - friend

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Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher

Formula One legend Michael Schumacher is paralysed and in a wheelchair, according to former racing driver Philippe Streiff.

The seven-time champion cannot speak and has memory problems.

Streiff, who is himself wheelchair-bound since a crash in Brazil during pre-season tests in 1989 left him a quadriplegic, was speaking on French radio.

The Frenchman, who is a good friend of Schumacher's, said: "He is getting better but everything is relative. It's very difficult. He can't speak. Like me, he is in a wheelchair, paralysed. He has memory problems and speech problems." Streiff, (59), was seen visiting Schumacher (inset) when the German was in intensive care in Grenoble Hospital, France.

Schumacher (45) was transferred to Lausanne Hospital, Switzerland, in June and he is now being cared for at his home on the shores of Lake Geneva.

Last December 29, he suffered a freak ski accident in the French Alps which left him brain damaged and fighting for his life. Schumacher, a very competent skier, was holidaying with family and friends in Meribel, where he owns a chalet. He was skiing with his 14-year-old son on a red piste, which is classed for intermediate skiers.

But shortly after 11am he left the piste and skied on to an off-piste area located in between the red run and a blue run, for beginners to intermediates.

It was here that he struck a partially covered rock. He was not skiing fast but he lost control and catapulted 34 feet on to another rock.

He smashed his head on the bolder. The force of the collision shattered his helmet. The footage recorded on a camera attached to his helmet was undamaged.

The film, which included audio, captured the crash in full horror and was analysed by police who investigated the accident. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent