This is good news for family, friends and fans of 7-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher. He is out of a coma and has been transferred from the hospital in France he’s been at for the past 6 months.
Schumacher left the hospital in Grenoble “to continue his long phase of rehabilitation,” his manager, Sabine Kehm, said in a statement.
She did not say when he was released, where the seven-time F1 champion was taken or give any further details of his condition, and her office refused to elaborate on the statement.
Schumacher is now at the Lausanne University Hospital in neighbouring Switzerland, hospital spokesman Darcy Christen said, without elaborating.
Schumacher, his wife and their two children live in Switzerland in a town between Lausanne and Geneva.
His accident happened on a family vacation as Schumacher was skiing with his 14-year-old son.
If you’re not familiar with the story of what happened to him, he was skiing in December when he had a pretty major crash, and suffered some pretty serious trauma to his head. There were reports that he had been sitting up and speaking minutes after the accident (which apparently is not uncommon in these situations), but his condition worsened considerably afterward.
The 45-year-old German driver was hospitalized with severe head injuries after his Dec. 29 ski accident, which split his helmet as he crashed into rocks on the slope at the Meribel ski resort in the French Alps.
Doctors in Grenoble put him into a coma to rest his brain and decrease swelling, and they operated to remove blood clots, but some were too deeply embedded.
Little information has been released on Schumacher’s condition over recent months.
At the time that it happened, I had trouble believing that a larger-than-life figure like Schumacher could suffer an injury like this. I grew up watching him race, and always kinda thought of him as being invincible. Just look at the way he attacks the track:
Driving like that scored him a record 91 race wins, and an unsurpassed 7 World Championships. And it’s great news is that he didn’t lose this battle either.
Schumacher’s family “would like to explicitly thank all his treating doctors, nurses and therapists in Grenoble as well as the first aiders at the place of the accident, who did an excellent job in those first months,” Kehm’s statement said.
“For the future we ask for understanding that his further rehabilitation will take place away from the public eye,” it added.
He still has a long battle ahead, though, and my understanding is that more often than not, victims of serious brain injuries are never quite the same.
“If he’s been released from the hospital he was in, it means he’s able to support his own breathing and bodily functions,” said Dr. Tipu Aziz, a professor of neurosurgery at Oxford University’s John Radcliffe Hospital.
The fact that Schumacher is going into rehabilitation “suggests there’s been long-term side effects of his injury,” he added.
“With rehabilitation, they’ll try to train him to cope with the disabilities that he’s got to achieve as much life function as possible,” Aziz said. “If he’s had a brain injury, he may have weakness in his limbs secondary to loss of brain function. He may have problems with speech and swallowing.”
In the meantime, all we can do is show our support, like the Mercedes F1 team did this morning on Twitter. Schumacher spent the last 3 years of his career racing for Mercedes.
Encouraging news on Michael’s condition this morning. We couldn’t ask for a better start to the week. #KeepFightingMichael
— MERCEDES AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) June 16, 2014
Regardless of what the future holds for Schumacher (and I hope it’s positive), I know I’ll always think of him as the red blur at the front of the pack.
[Image Source: Wikipedia]