Schumacher: 'small signs' of waking, but will he recover?

Rare statement from family gives glimmer of hope on the eve of the new Formula 1 season

LAST UPDATED AT 12:07 ON Wed 12 Mar 2014

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER'S family have issued a rare update on his condition as doctors continue their attempts to revive the racing driver from a medically induced coma following a skiing accident in December.
 
The seven-time Formula 1 champion has been in hospital in Grenoble since the accident 11 weeks ago, but on the eve of the new F1 season, which begins in Australia this weekend, a statement has been issued on behalf of his family.
 
In it they said that Schumacher was showing "small, encouraging signs" as efforts to bring him out of his coma continue. "We are, and remain, confident Michael will pull through and will wake up," read the statement, issued by the 45-year-old's agent.
 
"It is very hard to comprehend for all of us that Michael, who had overcome a lot of precarious situations in the past, has been hurt so terribly in such a banal situation," it added. "It was clear from the start this will be a long and hard fight for Michael, and we are taking this fight on together with the team of doctors, whom we fully trust. The length of the process is not the important part for us."
 
The message was accompanied by another plea to respect the privacy of the driver's family.
 
The 45-year-old motor-racing legend was placed in a coma after two operations to remove blood clots from his brain following the accident on December 29.
 
"Schumacher remains in a waking-up process at the University of Grenoble hospital in France," explains The Times, but the Evening Standard reports: "The length of his sedation has prompted speculation he may permanently remain in a vegetative state, or if he does wake, will be severely physically and mentally limited."

The paper adds that previous reports had claimed doctors had said it would be "a miracle" if he recovered. · 

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