F1 Legend Michael Schumacher In Critical Condition Following Sunday Morning Skiing Accident

Joel Sebastianelli Featured, Formula One, Sprints & Midgets 0 Comments

December 29, 2013 – Story by RaceChaser Online Correspondent Joel Sebastianelli – Photo by Rex Features –

Retired Formula One driver and decorated racing champion Michael Schumacher is in a coma and in critical condition following a skiing accident Sunday morning in the French Alps.

French radio station RMC reported that according to a medical source, the 44 year old German suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. A press release issued by Schumacher’s management company confirmed his status on Sunday evening.

“Mr. Schumacher was admitted to the University Hospital of Grenoble at 12:40pm, following a skiing accident which occurred in Meribel in the late morning,” the statement said. “He suffered a severe head injury with coma on arrival which required immediate neurosurgical intervention. He remains in a critical situation.”

According to numerous media reports, Schumacher was conscious at the scene of the incident, with the BBC listing the driver as “shaken but OK” after being airlifted from the French resort first to a medical facility in Moûtiers and then to Grenoble University Hospital Center, which specializes in brain injuries.

Despite any early signs of encouragement his condition soon deteriorated. Orthopedic and trauma surgeon Gerard Saillant, the same doctor who operated in 1999 after a crash at Silverstone and a close friend of the Schumachers, traveled from Paris to Grenoble to examine him.

Schumacher is accompanied at the hospital by his wife of 17 years, Corinna, 15-year-old daughter Gina-Marie and 14-year-old son Mick.

Schumacher was wearing a helmet while skiing with Mick when his head struck a rock while skiing off-piste. Frequently referred to as “backcountry skiing” in North America, off-piste skiing is done on unmaintained and typically unmarked slopes. Although the accident’s cause is unknown, skiers were advised to steer clear of off-piste slopes as Alps resorts were put on high-avalanche alert earlier this week.

A press conference is slated for 5a.m. EST (10 a.m. in the United Kingdom) on Monday morning to provide an update.

Experts say that following brain surgery, signs within the next one to two days will cast light upon the long term effects.  They also caution that no two scenarios of head trauma are the same.

“The first 24 to 48 hours following a brain injury are critically important,” according to the Brain Injury Law Center Website. “Doctors take care not to make predictions about the outcome during this time because the patient’s state can change dramatically from one moment to the next.

“The treatment that saves one life may fail to help another. After the first 48 hours, the patient is in danger of brain swelling, which can cause additional damage or death. If swelling can be controlled during the first two weeks, the patient has a better chance for a positive outcome.”

Schumacher, who retired from Formula One for good following the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, is the all-time F1 wins leader with 91 Grands Prix victories and seven World Drivers’ Championships with Benetton (1994, 1995) and Ferrari (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004). Schumacher made his debut in 1991 with Jordan before moving to Benetton after merely one Grand Prix and concluded his career with a three year stint at Mercedes GP from 2010-2012 after a three year hiatus from competitive auto racing.

His last victory came in 2006 at the Chinese Grand Prix while his final podium, a third place classification at the 2012 European Grand Prix in Valenica, was his only trip to the podium steps while under contract with the Mercedes AMG Petronas team.

In the hours after his dire prognosis became public, fellow Formula One competitors past and present as well as myriad notable auto racing personalities and fans released an outpouring of support and concern for the sporting hero.

Taking to Twitter, F1 colleague and Sky Sports commentator Martin Brundle tweeted “Come on Michael, give us one of those race stints at pure qualifying pace to win through like you used to. You can do it.”

2009 F1 champion and current McLaren driver Jenson Button tweeted “My thoughts are with Michael Schumacher at this tough time. Michael more than anyone has the strength to pull through this.”

1978 World Champion and fellow racing legend Mario Andretti also posted his support, saying “I will be very grateful to hear positive news on Michael Schumacher. I’m as anxious as everyone. I hope my prayers will be heard.”

And fellow countryman Sebastian Vettel tweeted “This is a very sad night. Michael, this is the most important GP of your life and you are going to win. #GoSchumi”

Stay tuned to Race Chaser Online for updates as they become available.

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