French doctors work to bring Schumacher out of coma

Michael Schumacher Michael Schumacher was skiing in the French resort of Meribel when he hit a rock

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Doctors treating injured Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher are reducing his sedation to prepare to bring him out of a coma, his manager says.

This step will allow the "waking up process" to start, Sabine Kehm said in a statement.

But bringing the seven-times champion out of the coma "could take a long time", she added.

Schumacher suffered a severe head injury in a skiing accident in the French Alps on 29 December.

Medically-induced coma

  • Can be induced by powerful anaesthetics and is broadly similar to the sedation and artificial ventilation used during surgery
  • It is used to shut down many brain functions and so lower blood flow and pressure.
  • Taking a patient out of an induced coma - reducing anaesthesia and removing mechanical ventilation - is a delicate process, especially after a prolonged period of sedation
  • Doctors, and Michael Schumacher's family at his bedside, will be looking for any signs of returning consciousness and recovery

He was put into a medically induced coma by his doctors at a clinic in Grenoble following operations to remove blood clots from his brain.

Doctors have kept the 45-year-old German asleep to help reduce the swelling.

Ms Kehm was approached by the media for comment on Schumacher's condition on Wednesday - exactly a month after his crash. She said then that his condition remained "stable".

In her statement on Thursday, she said it had been agreed to communicate details of his sedation "only once this process was consolidated".

The statement again included an appeal by Schumacher's family for privacy for them and for his doctors, while at the same time expressing "sincere appreciation for the worldwide sympathy".

At his bedside since the accident, the family have received hundreds of letters and gifts from around the world.

Earlier this month, investigators probing the accident said Schumacher had been going at the speed of "a very good skier" at the time of his crash in the resort of Meribel.

Michael Schumacher

  • Born: 3 January 1969
  • First GP win: Belgium 1992
  • Last GP win: China 2006
  • Races started: 303
  • Wins: 91 (155 podium finishes)
  • Championships: 7 (1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004)

He had been skiing 8m off-piste when he fell and hit a rock, investigators said.

Experts reconstructed events leading up to the crash after examining Schumacher's skiing equipment and viewing footage filmed on a camera attached to his helmet.

Schumacher retired from racing in 2012 after a 19-year career.

He won two titles with Benetton, in 1994 and 1995, before switching to Ferrari in 1996 and going on to win five straight titles from 2000.

map of piste

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