Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Schumacher 'has just 10% chance of a full recovery'

Formula One racing star Michael Schumacher suffered a skiing accident in French Alps last year

The former champion racing driver Michael Schumacher has only a one-in-10 chance of a full recovery despite his emergence from a coma, medical experts have warned.

The seven-time Formula One world champion left the hospital in Grenoble in the French Alps where he has been treated since he suffered serious head injuries in a skiing accident on December 29. He was transferred to the Vaud university hospital at Lausanne, in Switzerland, close to his family home.

His manager, Sabine Kehm, said yesterday that Mr Schumacher (45) had been removed from the artificially induced coma in which he had spent most of the past five months. She said that he would now "continue his long phase of rehabilitation".

French medical experts said it was a good sign that Mr Schumacher had been judged capable of making the journey to the new hospital. This implied, they said, that he had achieved at least a "minimal" state of consciousness. But they warned that only 10% of patients who spent so many months in a coma went on to recover all or most of their mental and physical capacities.

The racing driver underwent two brain operations and was placed in an artificial coma after his accident. In April it was announced that he showed "moments of consciousness and awakening".

Ms Kehm said that Mr Schumacher's family "would like to explicitly thank all his treating doctors, nurses and therapists in Grenoble, as well as the first-aiders at the place of the accident, who did an excellent job in those first months". French medical experts said he would now undergo intensive tests and exercises to try to help him to recover his bodily and mental functions.

Earlier this month, Gary Hartstein, former medical adviser to the International Automobile Federation, wrote that Mr Schumacher was unlikely to make a full recovery. He wrote: "I am almost certain we will never have good news of Michael Schumacher. After many months in a coma, only a small fraction of patients recover consciousness.

"Even if he had returned to minimal consciousness, the statistics were against him. He might be able to achieve a greater level of consciousness, but it would take a 'miracle' for him to recover completely. "

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