Schumacher in coma and fighting for his life after skiing accident

Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher

Seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher was fighting for his life on Monday after suffering severe head injuries in a skiing accident in the French Alps resort of Meribel, his doctors have said.

“We can say that his condition is life-threatening,” Jean-Francois Payen, head anaesthetician at the CHU hospital in the eastern French city of Grenoble, told a news conference.

He added, “For the moment we cannot say what Michael Schumacher’s future is. We are working round the clock – we are trying to win time.”

Payen also reported, “We can say he is fighting for his life. We judge him to be in a very serious situation. We cannot tell what the outcome will be yet. We are working hour-by-hour but it’s too early to say what is going to happen and to have a prognosis.”

Medics are seen outside the emergency services at the CHU Nord Hospital in Grenoble, French Alps,  Michael Schumacher was taken following a skiing accident

Medics outside the emergency services at the CHU Nord Hospital in Grenoble, French Alps, Michael Schumacher was taken following a skiing accident

The retired motor racing great, 44, slammed his head on a rock while skiing off-piste 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],” Payen said. “We have very good medical procedures and we did actually treat him very quickly and give him what he needed very quickly.”

Professor Payen added: “We are in constant contact with his family that are by his bedside. At this moment we don’t see [that] he is going to need a second operation.”

Schumacher was initially conscious as he was transported to a local hospital in Moutiers and then to Grenoble. However, his condition deteriorated sharply not long afterwards.

Meribel Ski resort

Meribel Ski resort

Neurosurgeon Stephan Chabardes said an emergency brain scan carried out on Schumacher had revealed internal bleeding and injuries including contusions and lesions. He said they had operated to treat the internal bleeding.

Doctors said Schumacher had been placed in an artificial coma but, contrary to earlier French and German media reports, said they had not carried out a second operation during the night and were not planning any further interventions at this stage.

A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was shocked to hear the news.

“We hope that he overcomes his injuries and can recover,” the spokesman told a regular briefing in Berlin.

Michael Schumacher's last F1 victory was at the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix

Michael Schumacher’s last F1 victory was at the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix

In Germany, Schumacher’s accident topped news bulletins, with the bestselling tabloid newspaper Bild reporting on its website: “Schumi fighting for his life”.

Schumacher was under the care of Professor Gerard Saillant, a brain and spinal injury expert who is also president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) Institute. Saillant told the news conference he was there as “a friend” and gave no further details on his condition.

Bild reports said that Ross Brawn, the Briton who worked with Schumacher at Ferrari and Mercedes as Technical Director and Team Principal respectively, had arrived in Grenoble.

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.

Michael Schumacher and Luca Badoer skiing at the Ferrari Wroom event in 2002

Michael Schumacher and Luca Badoer skiing at the Ferrari Wroom event in 2002

“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,” said Schumacher’s former Benetton team mate Martin Brundle.

Former Ferrari team mate Felipe Massa, who suffered a near fatal head injury at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, said he was praying for his friend.

Schumacher is the most successful Formula 1 driver of all time with a record 91 race victories in a career spanning more than two decades.

Former rivals and friends from the F1 world are unanimously willing the legend of the sport on, with good wishes and encouragement streaming in from every corner of the globe.

He won the first of his two titles with Benetton in 1994, the year when Brazilian triple champion Ayrton Senna died in a crash at the San Marino Grand Prix.

The German then took five in a row with Ferrari between 2000 and 2004 in what now seems a golden age for the Italian team which went on to name a square after him its Fiorano test track.

Schumacher left the sport last year after a less successful three-year comeback with Mercedes following an earlier retirement from Ferrari at the end of 2006. He lives in Switzerland with his wife and two children. Updated: 12:50 pm GMT. (Reuters-GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

  • Tamburello_1994

    “He was conscious but very agitated while being taken to hospital.”

    Agitated as in mad? angry? What does that mean? Can’t understand why he’d be mad?

  • Fisico

    Agitaded as opposite of calmed

  • Hawk

    THAT must be a translation from French. it might not mean exactly that.

  • Tamburello_1994

    Right on Hawk, Thanks for that.

    I would gladly accept being wrong in that regard.

  • McLarenfan

    Michael you have more to live for you can come through this for your family.

  • rxracer

    @Tamburello – Keep in mind that it was far from a simple little knock on the head. During the period he was conscious, who knows how his brain was trying to process the ordeal. Agitated would be one of the countless reasonable options.

  • Tamburello_1994

    Yea rx, You’re right.

    My first impression was that he was resisting the paramedics or something like that, Which I couldn’t understand. I get it now. I could just imagine the panic mixed in with the onset of shock.

    These next twelve to thirty six hours are critical.

  • psych4191

    @Tamburello It would mean he has damage to his brain, most likely to the anterior cingulate cortex (controls emotion). The most likely series of events is he went to the hospital as he was, and they did tests, saw that he had massive swelling, and put him into a medically induced coma (allows the swelling to go down with minimal permanent damage). It might be as bad as that Russian Boxer that was injured back in November. He could very well have a stroke, or he could wake up in a few days and be just fine all things considered. Let’s hope he’s just fine in a few days.

  • O’Ferrari

    Haven’t felt this way since I was a teenager and jim clark died.

    Schumacher is equal top of my list and remembered everyone’s name in the paddock.

    12 hours after I first heard, still have a lump in my throat.

  • Tamburello_1994

    @ psych4191

    Thanks mate, Great post.

    That sounds a lot better than what they were originally saying about him arriving in a coma. Sounds like he was quite alive and kicking, at least on the way it does. I had imagined it would go pretty close to how you got it, So I know I can’t be too far in left field.

    @ O’Ferrari

    I’m with you there. I can still remember where I was, and what I was doing when I heard about Ayrton. I’ll never forget. Today brought back lots of those memories. Michael really pissed me of about Adelaide 1994, And it took me a long time to forgive him for that. I was one of those cheering the loudest when Jerez 1996 happened. I really wanted him to pay. It wasn’t until Michael got up on the podium and cried about Senna when he broke his pole record did I finally come to respect Michael and understand what he means to this sport. Losing him would be devastation all over again for me. Senna really hurt, bad. Losing Michael would be down right unfair.

  • haha

    Psych, he arrived at the hospital already in a coma, not induced. Hope the 11h press conference brings some good news for him, his wife and kids, family and the fans. Haven’t been able to sleep so I lit candles trough the night and prayed as many did.

  • psych4191

    @Tam, some brain injuries take a while to “kick in”. If reports are true, and he arrived to the hospital in a comatose state, then the outlook isn’t very good. I will say that a 2nd surgery is actually good news. It means the doctors believe it would help him, and it also indicates he was strong enough for a second surgery.

  • Tamburello_1994


    This is from Huffington post (U.S.):

    “The Grenoble University Hospital Center said the retired racing driver arrived at the clinic in a coma and underwent immediate surgery for a serious head trauma.”

    This is from this article:

    ““He was conscious but very agitated while being taken to hospital,” said the director”.

    Either one of those is wrong, Or it indicates a rapid deterioration in MSC condition. I havn’t heard about a second surgery. Jeez I would think there’d be massive swelling at this point. Somebody said something about a presser upcoming? My usual sources have been ominously quiet over the last few hours. I’m really hoping / Praying no news is good news.

  • MacStar

    Always #1 come on now #Schumi, you can beat this! Get well soon!

  • Resultant Asteroid

    I have the same lump in my throat now. MSC is the reason I started/kept watching F1 in the first place. I’m doing my best trying to focus today, in vain so far.

  • O’Ferrari

    Geezus….. the press conference didn’t give much hope.

    I hope he pulls through.

  • Tinto

    Condition elevated to extremely serious by some. God can do a better work than doctors, but who knows his plans. Wait and pray, the least we can do.

    Good medical explanations, look for “Hartstein explains Schumi’s treatment”

  • Resultant Asteroid

    Many thnx.

    Guys, I think this gets updated every few minutes:

    www. telegraph. co. uk /sport /motorsport /formulaone /michael-schumacher /10542019 /Michael-Schumacher-in-coma-after-skiing-accident-live .html

    Let’s all pray for him.

  • animal9527

    Come on Schumi!!!

  • Boycotthehaters

    This is from Huffington post (U.S.):

    “The Grenoble University Hospital Center said the retired racing driver arrived at the clinic in a coma and underwent immediate surgery for a serious head trauma.”

    This is from this article:

    ““He was conscious but very agitated while being taken to hospital,” said the director”.


    Two different hospitals. He was conscious when he arrived at the first one, in a coma by the second one.

    It’s common in the case of brain injuries for the victim to be conscious and even seem fine at first, but to fall into a coma hours or even a day later as the brain bleeding takes effect.

  • Tinto

    “…The brain scan showed a number of pieces of information, some intercranial haematoma but also some cerebral contusions and oedema. We operated urgently to try to eliminate the haematoma. After the operation we saw that we had been able to eliminate these haematoma but also sadly the appearance of various bilateral lesions…”

  • Tamburello_1994

    The picture in Huffington Post of the grim faced doctor who conducted the presser isn’t very encouraging. I’m not expecting him to be grinning from ear to ear, But if pictures could talk, It speaks volumes. That’s what I woke up to this morning.

    @ Boycotthaters

    Ok, Thanks for the clarification. I guess I’m not tracking the story very well, I was unaware he was seen at two hospitals.

    The best thing MSC has going for him is he got to help quick and it appears they got that bleeding stopped before it was too late, Unlike Natasha Richardson who was admitted much later on after her fall and by then it was kinda too late to do anything for her. Very similar cases taking two different tracks. I’m really hoping brevity wins out here.

  • Zombie Jebus

    Save the speculations for the season and let’s all just hope and/or pray for the best outcome for who so many of us consider a superman during the most difficult chapter in his life!

  • SteveisGreat

    Keep fighting Schumi!!! We’re all hoping for the best!