Michael Schumacher 'won't be the same' if he ever exits coma

Jan 17, 2014

Brain injury expert warns F1 champ will be 'completely different person' if he survives skiing accident

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER will be a "completely different person", if he survives the head injury he sustained on a French ski slope a brain injury specialist has warned. 

The former Formula 1 champion "will not be Michael Schumacher" if he recovers, Dr Richard Greenwood of the University College London Hospital told The Independent. "He will be [Joe] Bloggs. His rehabilitation will only be effective if he comes to terms with being Bloggs."

Doctors at a hospital in Grenoble, France, have begun tests on Schumacher, who has been in a medically-induced coma for two weeks. The former F1 champion hit his head on a rock that split his helmet in half and has subsequently undergone two operations to relieve swelling of his brain and remove blood clots.

Dr Greenwood made his comments at the launch of a study this week which found that people who had suffered a traumatic head injury were three times as likely to die prematurely as those who had not.

Asked about Schumacher's recovery, Dr Greenwood said: "That is a very, very hard process to take people through. They need to come to terms with their limitations — the fact they have changed."

The most recent update on Schumacher's condition was a statement released by his manager on 6 January. It said that the driver's condition "can be considered stable". But Schumacher's manager added: "I can't confirm to have stated his life is out of danger."

The German news magazine Focus says Schumacher may remain in a coma for the rest of his life, according to medical experts.

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If he wakes up as Joe Bloggs, will he know he used to be someone else?

If he has a physical limitation he might feel frustrated he can no longer, say, ski or play golf; things he remembers doing .

If he is mentally different, how will he know?