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Michael Schumacher in ‘coma’, critical after ski accident

The seven-time Formula One World Champion was skiing in France.

Michael Schumacher was known as a keen skier during his time in Formula One.
Michael Schumacher was known as a keen skier during his time in Formula One.
Image: RCOLE COLOMBO/AP/Press Association Images

Updated at 22.00

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER IS in a “critical condition” in a coma after striking his head in a ski accident in the French Alps, the hospital treating him said.

The 44-year-old German “was suffering a serious brain trauma with coma on his arrival, which required an immediate neurosurgical operation,” the hospital in the southeast French city of Grenoble said in a statement

The 44-year-old German was being treated in a hospital in Grenoble, the Meribel resort said, adding that the seven-time F1 world champion’s injury was not life-threatening.

Earlier today, the director of the resort in the French Alps, Christophe Gernigon-Lecomte, said Schumacher was ‘suffering a serious cranial trauma but he is not in a critical condition’. A Paris neurologist, Doctor Gerard Saillant, had arrived to oversee Schumacher’s treatment. Latest reports coming from France suggest the German’s condition has deteriorated.

The mountain police who first tended to Schumacher said he suffered a “severe cranial traumatism”.

The Grenoble hospital which has admitted Schumacher refused to give any information about the former racer’s condition. It said a joint statement with Schumacher’s press team would be issued later Sunday.

Schumacher reportedly owns property in Meribel. He was said to have been skiing off-piste with other skiers when he fell and knocked his head against a rock.

In comments to Radio Monte Carlo Sport immediately after the accident, Gernigon-Lecomte suggested the injuries were not as serious as they were later diagnosed to be. He said Schumacher had been wearing a helmet and was “conscious but upset” after the accident.

Two medical officers attended Schumacher at the scene before he was airlifted by helicopter to a local hospital within 10 minutes. It was from there he was taken to the better-equipped Grenoble hospital.

Schumacher’s spokeswoman Sabine Kahn confirmed the accident in initial comments before the gravity of the situation became apparent.

“He was taken to hospital and is receiving professional medical attention. We ask for understanding that we cannot give out continuous information about his health,” she said.

“No one else was involved in the fall.”

Schumacher, who won the last of his world titles in 2004, retired from the sport he had towered over since making his debut in Belgium in 1991 after finishing seventh in the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Originally published at 12.15 and first updated at 13.10.

(C) AFP 2013

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