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Michael Schumacher remains 'critical' after skiing accident

ESPN Staff
December 30, 2013 « Alonso sends warning to Vettel | Schumacher family thanks fans for support »

Michael Schumacher's condition is still "critical" and he is being kept in intensive care at a hospital in Grenoble following a skiing accident on Sunday.

In an update on Monday morning, surgeons treating Schumacher said he was "fighting for his life". They said they operated on immediately to relieve pressure on his head after a brain scan on Sunday night. He is being kept in an artificial coma with treatment to limit a cerebral oedema and a second operation is not currently planned. Professor Jean-Francois Payen added: "We are working hour by hour, we cannot say anything more".

Schumacher was initially flown to a hospital in Moutiers by helicopter to put him in a condition to be transferred to a bigger facility in Grenoble. The doctors in Grenoble said Schumacher had lesions when he was admitted but could not speculate on a prognosis. Schumacher was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident and Payen said "he would not have got to here" had he not been wearing head protection.

Schumacher was skiing off-piste in the resort of Meribel when the accident happened on Sunday morning. He was reported to be conscious immediately after the accident but he had lost consciousness by the time he reached hospital.

Christophe Gernignon-Lecomte, director general of Meribel ski resort, told radio station RMC: "The police are in the process of investigating the cause of the fall. He fell at 11.07am, whilst off piste in Meribel. The emergency services arrived quickly at 11.15am. He was in shock, a little shaken but conscious."

Christopher Chandler, a leading neurosurgery specialist at the London Neurosurgery Partnership, told the Press Association that the injuries sound "very serious".

"An intra-cranial haematoma is a blood clot, which causes swelling and pressure on the brain," Chandler said. "The scenario may be that he had a blood clot in his brain that required immediate removal, which would explain the surgery.

"If you have a brain injury with sufficient severity to cause a coma, that indicates a very serious situation. The longer a patient is in a coma, the less likely they are to make a full recovery. You can't say that they won't recover, and you can't say they won't be brain-damaged, but an injury such as bilateral bruising, which means on both sides of the brain, is very serious, and can be very dangerous."

Schumacher retired from Formula One at the end of 2012 following a three-year comeback stint with Mercedes. He won the first two of his world championships with Benetton in the mid-1990s before securing five consecutive titles for Ferrari from 2000 to 2004.