31 Dec 2013

Schumacher's condition 'improving'

11:23 pm on 31 December 2013

Formula 1 motor-racing champion Michael Schumacher's condition has improved slightly after a second operation to relieve pressure on his brain following a ski accident, doctors say.

Schumacher suffered a serious head injury on Sunday morning while skiing with his 14-year-old son in the French Alps and is being treated at the University Hospital in Grenoble.

Michael Schumacher.

Michael Schumacher. Photo: AFP

The 44-year-old German had been wearing a helmet when he fell and hit his head on a rock while skiing off-piste. His wife Corinna and two children are at his side.

Doctors said on Tuesday that a new scan showed signs that his condition was "better than yesterday", but he is still "not out of danger", the BBC reports.

The seven-time Formula 1 champion was put in a medically-induced coma. Late on Monday night doctors carried out a new scan on Schumacher which showed "an improved situation" and indicated a window of opportunity for a second operation, doctors said.

The family took the "difficult decision" to give consent for the surgery, and doctors operated on Schumacher for about two hours. A subsequent scan revealed a "slight improvement" in his condition.

The next few days will be crucial for Schumacher and there are precedents for people surviving such head injuries. Induced comas can last several weeks while a patient's condition is stabilised. After that, there could be many months of therapy in order to achieve as full a recovery as possible.

New Zealander Bob McMurray, a member of the McLaren Formula 1 team for many years, met Michael Schumacher several times. He told Radio New Zealand that Schumacher is incredibly fit - and if anyone has the strength to overcome this sort of injury, it's him.

Schumacher won the last of his world titles in 2004 and definitively retired in 2012 in the Brazilian Grand Prix, in which he finished seventh, after an abandoned attempt to quit six years earlier.