Schumacher in coma after skiing mishap
SEVEN-TIME Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher was fighting for his life yesterday after sustaining severe head injuries in a skiing accident in the French Alps resort of Meribel, doctors said.
"We can say that his condition is life-threatening," Dr Jean-Francois Payen, head anaesthetician at CHU hospital in the eastern French city of Grenoble, said at a news conference.
"For the moment, we cannot say what Michael Schumacher's future is," he added. "We are working round the clock - we are trying to win time."
The retired motor-racing great, 44, slammed his head on a rock while skiing off-piste - on snow that has not been prepared for skiing - on Sunday morning in the French Alpine resort where he has a vacation home.
"His helmet did, of course, protect him at least partly. Someone who had suffered a similar accident without a helmet would not have made it (to the hospital)," Dr Payen said.
Schumacher was initially conscious as he was transported to a local hospital in Moutiers and then to Grenoble. However, his condition deteriorated sharply afterwards.
Neurosurgeon Stephan Chabardes said an emergency brain scan carried out on Schumacher had revealed internal bleeding and injuries including contusions and lesions. Doctors said Schumacher had been placed in an artificial coma.
Leading names in motor racing reacted with shock on Twitter.
"If anyone can pull through, it's him," said Britain's triple Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti, who is still walking on crutches after a crash in October that ended his racing career.
Schumacher's former Benetton teammate, Martin Brundle, said: "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."
Schumacher is the most successful F1 driver of all time, with a record 91 race victories in a career spanning more than two decades.