Following a skiing accident Sunday morning, German Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher remains in critical condition in a coma.
The 44-year-old racer was skiing with his 14-year-old son when he fell, hitting his head on a rock. Schumacher was wearing a helmet at the time and doctors credit his survival thus far to the fact that he was wearing it. He was air-lifted from the slope at Meribel, a French alpine resort, and underwent emergency brain surgery remaining in a medically-induced coma since then.
“We cannot predict the future for Michael Schumacher,” said Chief anesthesiologist Jean-Francois Payen, who is also in charge of Grenoble University Hospital’s intensive-care unit.
Payen said they are working “hour by hour” and that Schumacher is in a critical state of cerebral resuscitation. The doctors have lowered Schumacher’s body temperature to between 34 and 35 degrees Celsius.
“He is in a critical situation and we can say that he is fighting for his life. We judge him to be in a very serious condition,” Payen said.
This morning during a press conference, doctors announced that they do not plan to perform a second operation.
This isn’t the first time he has endured a serious injury. In February, 2009, he suffered serious neck and spine injuries after a motorcycle accident in Spain. Schumacher also broke his leg during a crash at the Silverstone race in 2009.
After Sunday’s accident, the resort said Schumacher was conscious, but Payen said today that he was not in a normal state of consciousness, saying he was unable to respond to questions and his limbs appeared to moving involuntarily.
Schumacher is the most successful Formula 1 driver in the sport’s history. He retired in 2006 with seven world championships; the most of any individual driver. In total, Schumacher can claim 91 victories.
While his condition seems grim, former Formula 1 doctor Gary Hartstein has been offering commentary through his Twitter account and personal blog. He says the fact that a second operation isn’t being done is a positive sign and that the lowered body temperature is to reduce demand on the brain to optimize its metabolic state.