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Schumacher condition 'critical but stable'

F1 legend Michael Schumacher's condition has improved after more surgery last night, according to hospital chief.

Last updated: 01 Jan 2014 10:49
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Retired Formula One champion Michael Schumacher's condition was stable overnight, but the brain injury he suffered during a skiing accident in the French Alps is still critical, according to his manager.

Sabine Kehm told reporters that his condition has not changed since doctors said he showed small signs of improvement on Tuesday.

Schumacher, who turns 45 on Friday, suffered critical head injuries when he fell and struck a rock while skiing.

He has since undergone two brain operations and remains in a medically induced coma.

"The good news for today is ... there's no significant changes,'' Kehm said.

"However, it is still very early, and the situation overall is critical.''

Doctors have refused to give a prognosis for Schumacher, saying they are focused on his immediate care.

"The situation is more under control than yesterday but we cannot say that he is out of danger," Jean-Francois Payen, head anaesthetician told a news conference at the CHU hospital.

"We hadn't planned to do a surgery on him but I want to say that the surgery was efficient.

"The condition is still critical and too premature to say anything.

"We can’t forecast anything with certainty and we have to keep a close eye on the patient.

"The situation is better than yesterday but we can’t say he is out of danger."

Earlier, Payen said on Monday that Schumacher was still in a medically induced coma with head injuries, sustained when he fell while skiing with his 14-year-old son at the Meribel resort on Sunday.

Payen said that the medical team was working around the clock and were trying to win time in the their fight to save the seven-time Grand Prix champion.

The 44-year-old German had slammed his head on a rock while skiing off-piste in the French Alpine resort where he has a vacation home.

Inquiry launched

Payen said Schumacher would have died without the helmet.

Philippe Quincy, the Albertville public prosecutor, told Reuters news agency that an inquiry had been launched on Sunday to identify the causes of the accident.

Initial findings indicated the blow was so hard that Schumacher's helmet had shattered.

Schumacher was initially conscious as he was transported to a local hospital in Moutiers and then to Grenoble. However, his condition deteriorated sharply afterwards.

Neurosurgeon Stephan Chabardes said an emergency brain scan carried out on Schumacher had revealed internal bleeding and injuries including contusions and lesions. He said they had operated to treat the internal bleeding.

Tributes flow

Doctors said Schumacher had been placed in an artificial coma but, contrary to an earlier French media report, said they had not carried out a second operation during the night and were not planning any further interventions at this stage.

The neurology team at Grenoble University Hospital, which is recognised as among the best in France, was cautious about Schumacher's prognosis.

F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel wished Schumacher's family strength, as they kept a vigil by his hospital bedside.

"I am shocked and I hope that he will get better as quickly as possible," Vettel said.

Felipe Massa, former Ferrari team mate, wrote on Twitter: "I'm praying for God to protect you, brother!", while double F1 world champion Fernando Alonso tweeted: "Get well soon Michael! Hope to hear some positive news very soon! #strongman".

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