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Michael Schumacher, former F1 champion, critical after ski fall

December 30 2013 00:00  1862 views
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Michael Schumacher, the seven-time Formula 1 champion, is in a critical condition after a skiing accident, says the French hospital treating him.

The 44-year-old German suffered serious brain trauma, was in a coma on arrival and underwent a brain operation.

He was skiing off-piste with his son in the French Alps on Sunday when the accident occurred.

Schumacher was wearing a helmet when he fell and hit his head against a rock, his manager Sabine Kehm said.

Early reports had said his condition was not life-threatening and he reportedly walked away from the accident complaining only of feeling a bit shaken.

The resort's director, Christophe Gernignon-Lecomte, said Schumacher was attended to by two ski patrollers who requested helicopter evacuation to the nearby valley town of Moutiers.

He was subsequently moved to the bigger facility at Grenoble, in south-east France. His wife Corinna and two children are with him.

"Mr Schumacher was admitted to the University Hospital of Grenoble at 12:40 [11:40 GMT], following a skiing accident which occurred in Meribel in the late morning," the Grenoble hospital said in a statement.

"He suffered a severe head injury with coma on arrival, which required immediate neurosurgical intervention. He remains in a critical situation."

The hospital statement was signed by the facility's neurosurgeon, the professor in charge of its anaesthesia/revival unit, and the hospital's deputy director, reports said.

F1 journalist Peter Windsor: "Racing drivers, including Michael, do have this propensity to push everything to the limit" A hospital official declined to give more details and said more information would be given out on Monday, said Reuters news agency.

Experts say it is likely that his brain began to swell and the urgent surgery was required to relieve the pressure, says the BBC's Hugh Schofield in Paris.

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