Michael Schumacher is 'slowly' being woken from coma

Jan 30, 2014

Manager confirms that former F1 champion is regaining consciousness

ONE month after his skiing accident in the French alps, Michael Schumacher is being slowly woken from a medically-induced coma, the former Formula 1 champion's manager has confirmed.

The 45-year-old struck his head on a rock while skiing with his son on 29 December and has remained in a coma ever since. Though the last official communique from his management said the seven-time F1 champion was "stable", there have been fears he will never regain consciousness.

Those fears dissipated yesterday when Sabine Kehm, Schumacher's manager, confirmed that doctors are now slowly bringing the seven-time Formula One World Champion out of his medically induced coma.

Earlier this week the French newspaper L'Equipe said Schumacher was being back to consciousness and had "reacted postively" to doctors' efforts. The paper quoted Professor Jean-Luc Truelle, the former head of the neurology department of the Foch hospital in Suresnes, who said that a month is upper limit of when a patient can be awoken safely from an artificial coma. 

L'Equipe's story conflicted with a report in the Rheinische Post newspaper that suggested doctors had delayed efforts to bring Schumacher out of his coma. The paper says the rumoured delay raises new fears about the driver's chances of recovery.

The paper added that even if Schumacher does come out of his coma the best case scenario is that "a long neurological rehabilitation awaits him".

The BBC offers a similarly gloomy prognosis having sought the advice of two medical experts. Professor Gary Hartstein, F1's chief medic between 2005 and 2012, told the BBC that "it is extremely unlikely, and I'd honestly say virtually impossible, that the Michael we knew prior to this fall will ever be back".

Colin Shieff, neurosurgeon at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, said: "It is still possible to regain consciousness, but this is far from certain. At best, there will be handicaps in respect of communication, memory, mobility and independence. At worst, the patient may remain in 'low arousal state' with little awareness of surroundings."

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