Author Topic: Doctor: Cannot predict Schumacher's future after head injury in skiing accident  (Read 291 times)

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Offline Rapunzel

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Doctor: Cannot predict Schumacher's future after head injury in skiing accident

Updated Dec 30, 2013 8:58 AM ET
Doctors treating Michael Schumacher refused Monday to predict an outcome for the seven-time Formula One champion, saying they were taking his critical head injury "hour by hour" following a skiing accident.

Chief anesthesiologist Jean-Francois Payen told reporters that Schumacher was still in a medically induced coma and doctors were focusing only on his current condition.

"We cannot predict the future for Michael Schumacher," said Payen, who is also in charge of Grenoble University Hospital's intensive-care unit.

"He is in a critical state in terms of cerebral resuscitation," he added. "We are working hour by hour."

Schumacher, the most successful driver in Formula One history, arrived at the Grenoble hospital a day earlier already in a coma and immediately underwent brain surgery.

The German driver was skiing with his son Sunday morning in the French Alpine resort of Meribel when he fell and hit the right side of his head on a rock. He was wearing a helmet, but doctors said it was not enough to prevent a serious brain injury.

Gerard Saillant, a trauma surgeon who operated on Schumacher when he broke his leg in a 1999 race crash, was at the hospital as a visitor. He told reporters that Schumacher's age -- he turns 45 on Jan. 3 -- and his fitness should work in his favor.

But the Grenoble medical team was being very cautious about Schumacher's prognosis. Working to relieve the pressure on his brain, they lowered his body temperature to between 34 and 35 degrees Celsius (93.2 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit) as part of the medically induced coma.

The neurology team at Grenoble University Hospital is recognized as among the best in France and the hospital, in a city that is the gateway to the French Alps, sees a large number of skiing accidents every year.

Schumacher has been seriously hurt before. He broke his leg in a crash at the Silverstone race course in 1999. He also suffered serious neck and spine injuries after a motorcycling accident in February 2009 in Spain.

The area where Schumacher was skiing is part of a web of trails that slice down through a vast and, in parts, very steep snowfield. Although challenging, the snowfield is not extreme skiing. The runs are broad and neatly tended, and the ungroomed area in between, known as off-piste -- where the resort said Schumacher was found -- is free of trees.

The resort said Schumacher was conscious when first responders arrived, although agitated and in shock. But Payen said Monday that after the fall Schumacher was not in a "normal state of consciousness." He was not responding to questions and his limbs appeared to be moving involuntarily.

He was airlifted to a local hospital and then later brought to Grenoble. Doctors said that stopover was typical and did not affect his condition.

His wife and other family members were by his bedside.

"The family is not doing very well obviously. They are shocked," said his manager Sabine Kehm, who added that the family still appreciated the outpouring of support.

The French prosecutor in Albertville has opened an investigation into the accident, according to the Mountain Gendarmerie in Bourg-Saint-Maurice, which will participate in the probe. The goal is to determine the circumstances of the accident and what was responsible for it.

Formula One drivers and fans rushed to wish Schumacher a quick recovery.

"Like millions of Germans, the chancellor and members of the government were extremely dismayed when they heard about Michael Schumacher's serious skiing accident," German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said in Berlin.

Sebastian Vettel, for whom Schumacher was a boyhood idol, told German news agency dpa: "I am shocked and hope that he will get better as soon as possible."

Ferrari, which Schumacher raced for, expressed its concern in a statement.

"Everyone at Ferrari has been in a state of anxiety since hearing about Michael Schumacher's accident," it said, adding that company president, Luca di Montezemolo, and race team leader, Stefano Domenicali, were in contact with the family.

British former world racing champion Jenson Button posted that his "thoughts are with Michael Schumacher at this tough time. ... Michael more than anyone has the strength to pull through this."

During his career, Schumacher won seven drivers' championships and 91 race wins. After initial success with the Benetton team, Schumacher moved to Ferrari and helped turn the Italian team into the sport's dominant force. After initially retiring in 2006, he made a comeback in 2010 and raced for three years with Mercedes.
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Offline AbaraXas

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For now he's among the greatest of the great all time motor sports drivers. F1 is my favorite sport.
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Offline mountaineer

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Ski Helmet Use Isn’t Reducing Brain Injuries
Published: December 31, 2013

BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — The fact that Michael Schumacher was wearing a helmet when he sustained a life-threatening head injury while skiing in France on Sunday probably did not come as a surprise to experts who have charted the increasing presence of helmets on slopes and halfpipes in recent years. The fact that the helmet did not prevent Schumacher’s injury probably did not surprise them, either.
Schumacher, the most successful Formula One driver in history, sustained a traumatic brain injury when he fell and hit his head on a rock while navigating an off-piste, or ungroomed, area at a resort in Méribel, France. Although he was wearing a helmet, he sustained injuries that have left him fighting for his life in a hospital in Grenoble, France.

Schumacher’s injury also focused attention on an unsettling trend. Although skiers and snowboarders in the United States are wearing helmets more than ever — 70 percent of all participants, nearly triple the number from 2003 — there has been no reduction in the number of snow-sports-related fatalities or brain injuries in the country, according to the National Ski Areas Association.

Experts ascribe that seemingly implausible correlation to the inability of helmets to prevent serious head injuries like Schumacher’s and to the fact that more skiers and snowboarders are engaging in risky behaviors: skiing faster, jumping higher and going out of bounds. ...

Rest of story at NYT:

Meanwhile, also reported at NYT:
LONDON — Doctors treating Michael Schumacher for the brain injuries he sustained in a skiing accident in the French Alps said Tuesday that there was “a slight improvement” in his condition after an overnight operation. 

But they said the 44-year-old former grand prix driver, the most successful in the century-long history of the sport, remained in critical condition, with extensive blood clots in his brain that were inaccessible to further surgery.

The two-hour operation at a hospital in the French city of Grenoble, the second surgical procedure since Schumacher’s accident on Sunday, was undertaken to remove a large hematoma, or blood clot, on the left outer side of his brain, the opposite side to Sunday’s surgery, the doctors said.

The second operation, begun at 10 p.m. on Monday, had achieved “a relatively good result,” they said, removing the hematoma and somewhat lowering the pressures within Schumacher’s brain, leaving him in a “relatively stable” condition.

But Dr. Jean-Francois Payen, a member of the surgical team, said that Schumacher, a seven-time winner of the world drivers’ championship in Formula One, remained in a critical condition. It could be days or weeks, he said, if Schumacher survives, before any assessment could be made about whether he had suffered any permanent brain damage when he skied at high speed into a rock on a snowfield at the resort of Méribel, close to the Swiss and Italian borders with France.

“We can’t say he is out of danger,” Dr. Payen said, “but we have gained a bit of time.”  ...

Life is too short to leave the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket.

Offline mountaineer

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Re: Doctor: Cannot predict Schumacher's future - UPDATE
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2014, 05:46:44 PM »
Witness 'inadvertently' filmed Schumacher's accident
By Jean-Pierre Clatot | AFP – 6 hrs ago..
Yahoo News

Grenoble (France) (AFP) - Formula One legend Michael Schumacher remained in critical condition Sunday a week after his skiing accident in the French Alps, which a German eyewitness said he inadvertently caught on his smartphone.

Investigators are focusing on the retired racer's speed when he fell and slammed his head on a rock on a small off-piste section of the Meribel ski resort, prompting his evacuation by helicopter to the Alpine city of Grenoble.

They are hoping that a helmet-mounted camera Schumacher was wearing will provide some clues, as will footage by a 35-year-old German steward who says he was filming his girlfriend on the slopes when by chance he captured the moment when the retired driver fell.

In the background, a skier is seen descending an unmarked run between two groomed pistes before falling, news magazine Der Spiegel reported.

According to the witness, who spoke to the magazine, the seven-time world champion was descending the slope at a "leisurely" pace -- "a maximum speed of 20 kilometres an hour". He plans to hand over the footage to French investigators.

This would corroborate claims by Schumacher's spokeswoman Sabine Kehm, who said he could not have been going fast "because it appears he helped a friend who had just fallen".

But in a press conference last week, doctors who treated Schumacher said he had been skiing at great speed when he fell on December 29.

Edouard Bourgin, a specialist on accident claims, said there could have been "a catapult effect that explains the violence of the shock, even in the absence of excessive speed".

Prosecutors are also looking at whether the limits of the ski runs next to the accident site were correctly marked and whether the rock in question was lying close enough to the piste to require some kind of protection or signage.

In addition, they are examining whether the safety releases on Schumacher's skis operated properly in a probe aimed at determining responsibility for the accident.

Schumacher turned 45 on Friday, and fans marked the birthday with a silent vigil outside the facility, part of which was organised by Ferrari, Schumacher's former team.

His wife Corinna and two teenage children have been at his bedside throughout, and other family members have come to visit, including his father Rolf and his brother Ralph, who is also a racing driver.

Kehm said Schumacher remains in a "critical but stable" condition after he underwent two surgeries earlier in the week to ease pressure and bleeding in the brain.

No further press conferences are scheduled before Monday, and prosecutors and police probing the circumstances of the accident will brief journalists around the middle of the week, public prosecutor Patrick Quincy said Sunday.

'Don't try to beat the clock'

The accident has shocked legions of fans and racing stars used to seeing Schumacher cheat death on the track.

Mika Hakkinen, the double Formula One world champion who suffered a near fatal crash during a practice session for the 1995 Australian Grand Prix, wrote to his former rival wishing him a quick recovery, the Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported.

"Your accident is now just another challenge. You have to fight hard again, just like we both used to do on the track," the Finnish driver said.

"Do me a favour: just this once don’t try to beat the clock. You don’t have to post your best time in this race. You have to take all the time you need."

It is not known whether the miniature camera Schumacher had strapped onto his helmet filmed the accident, or whether images have been damaged by the impact of his fall, which was so hard it split the helmet in two.

Any usable images should shed light on the circumstances of the accident on the small, seemingly innocuous off-piste section of Meribel located between two ski slopes -- one classed as easy and the other as intermediate.

Police have also obtained eyewitness testimony from Schumacher's 14-year-old son Mick, who was skiing with his father at the time, as well as a friend.

Schumacher, who made his debut in 1991, dominated Formula One during his career, winning more world titles and races than any other driver. He retired in 2012.
Life is too short to leave the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket.

Offline Rapunzel

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There is nothing quite as startling as sking along and then unexpectedly ski over a rock just under the surface of the snow, especially if you are in the process of a turn and hit it with the ski you have all your weight distributed over.
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

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