There were positive signs for Michael Schumacher’s health after he underwent further surgery, but doctors are reluctant to assume the likelihood of a full recovery.
MICHAEL Schumacher has remained in a stable condition on his fourth night in hospital as he fights to overcome serious head injuries sustained in a skiing accident in France.
The seven-time Formula 1 world champion’s manager briefly updated waiting press at the Grenoble hospital where the German is being treated, also confirming there will be no more press conferences until there is further news.
“Michael has been carefully supervised overnight, and his condition at the moment is stable and has been stable all over the night,” Sabine Kehm told reporters.
“That’s why we don’t feel to have the need to do a press conference, because as we told all of you we would only hold a press conference if there’s something to report.”
Yesterday, the F1 legend’s manager confirmed Schumacher was not skiing at high speed when he suffered a severe accident.
Details of the moments leading up to his skiing accident came after doctors revealed he had undergone a second operation to reduce swelling in his brain and internal bleeding.
Vision of the helicopter carrying Michael Schumacher leaving from the scene. Courtesy BFMTV
The force of the crash caused his ski helmet to break in two and the 44-year-old was helicoptered for emergency surgery to a nearby hospital where he has been fighting for his life since Sunday.
Early media reports suggested he was skiing at high speed at the time of the accident, with some claims that he could have been going as fast as 60 to 100 kilometres an hour.
But his manager Sabine Kehm said it was not speed but a “chain of unfortunate circumstances” that led to his crash.
Schumacher was skiing “with a small group of friends” as well as his 14-year-old son Mick at the time of the accident, Kehm said.
As a result of the accident, “apparently (his) helmet broke,” she said.
One of Michael Schumacher’s doctors, Professor Jean-Francois Payen, insists it is still too early to consider the former world champion as healthy despite his successful surgery.
“That doesn’t mean that Michael was travelling at high speed. He seems to have hit a rock as he took a turn. It was a chain of unfortunate circumstances.”
Kehm added that the accident could have happened even “at 10 kilometres per hour” and took place during “a normal turning manoeuvre”.
“Michael was skiing on a normal piste with the group,” Kehm said.
“Nearby was an area of deep snow. Michael skied into it. He wasn’t going fast because he had apparently just helped a friend who had fallen down.
Doctors report ‘a slight improvement’ in the condition of Michael Schumacher in a French hospital.
“So Michael just got going again, skied into the deep snow and then – we suspect – hit the rock as he entered a curve.
“Michael was not going very fast. But unfortunately as he took the turn, we assume, he hit the rock and was catapulted upwards and then struck a rock head-first.”
Schumacher’s group was on the normal ski slope run when one of the party fell and Schumacher stopped to help them up.
He then pushed off and attempted to make a turn onto a parallel run but instead hit rocky outcrops that sit between the two runs.
Doctors previously said if he had not been wearing a helmet he could have been killed almost instantly.
Sky Sports Germany’s Sandra Baumgartner says Michael Schumacher’s accident has had a profound effect on his home country where he is viewed as a national hero.
The team of four doctors treating the retired F1 supremo said last night he was making slight improvements.
They revealed they saw a “surgical window of opportunity” and carried out a second operation, that lasted two hours, to remove blood on the brain and relieve swelling and pressure.
But the medical team monitoring his progress 24 hours a day say the motor ace is now stable but remains in a “fragile” critical condition.
“The situation is more under control than yesterday but we cannot say that he is out of danger,” said Jean-Francois Payen, head anaesthetician at the CHU Grenoble Hospital in the eastern French city.
Fans of Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher have gathered outside the Grenoble hospital where he is being treated for serious brain trauma sustained in a skiing accident in the French Alps.
“We have won some time but we must continue an hour-by-hour surveillance.”
Doctors said they were very pleased there had been no worsening of Schumacher’s condition and that he was showing “very slight” improvements but they could not say what will happen in coming days and the situation was still touch-and-go.
The second operation had its risks but Schumacher’s family gave permission prior to it taking place at 10pm local time.
“We can’t say he is out of danger but … we have gained a bit of time,” Dr Payen reiterated. “The coming hours are crucial.”
The F1 legend remained in an induced coma and in a state of hypothermia to give him the best chance to recover from the serious head trauma.
As the most successful driver in Formula 1 history, Michael Schumacher amassed seven World Championships and 91 race wins in 307 starts for Jordan, Benetton, Mercedes and most famously Ferrari.
Professor Emmanuel Gay, one of the specialists treating Schumacher said the German was not out of danger.
“We cannot say that we have won because there are still some highs and some lows, but it’s better than yesterday,” he said.
“He is still in a very critical condition, this has not changed. And we still cannot tell how he will be, which state he will be in when he does wake up. We cannot speculate on the future because once again it would be too early to do so.”
Brain scans had shown intercranial haematoma (internal bleeding), cerebral contusions (brain tissue bruising) and oedema (fluid build up).
Further operations have not been ruled out but “strategies” would be considered over the next 48 hours.
“There are still many haematomas in the brain, with little bits everywhere,” Professor Gay said.
“That is what makes the situation critical and it needs to be looked at hour by hour, day by day.
“The situation can still evolve, but we won’t be able to evacuate the other haematomas at the moment because they are not accessible. They are not as big as the one we removed yesterday.”
The German was on a private trip to the area where he owns a chalet to celebrate the New Year and his birthday on Friday.
His wife Carinna, 16-year-old daughter Gina-Marie as well as son Mick remained at his bedside overnight. They were joined overnight by his father Rolf Schumacher.
Meanwhile, Ms Kehm also revealed a journalist had allegedly dressed as a priest and attempted to enter Schumacher’s intensive care room before being stopped by medical staff. Their identity or nationality has not been revealed.
MICHAEL Clarke says Australia’s team for next week’s first Ashes Test has almost picked itself.
“I believe if they are going to pick 12 players I think 11 of them are no brainers, we are looking at probably one selection, one spot to work out what our first 11, first 12 is going to be for Test number one at the Gabba,” he said.
Selectors will name a squad in Brisbane tomorrow for the serious opening Test which starts on November 21 with one round of Sheffield Shield matches to play.
The captain believes there may be only one place up for debate and while he didn’t go far to say it was a contest between the front-runner George Bailey and, perhaps, Alex Doolan or James Faulkner, it is clear that who bats at No6 is the only real issue ahead of the game.
Shane Watson will play as a batsman which may see the selectors think about an all rounder (Faulkner) down the order, but it seems unlikely.
The decision to rest Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris and Clarke from this round of shield games indicates they will be named. Mitchell Johnson apparently has not done enough to prove himself, but is expected to be the third seamer with Nathan Lyon bowling spin.
England, however, have some concerns with news that Matthew Prior has had to withdraw from this week’s practice match against an Australian Invitiational XI at the SCG with a calf strain.
The visitors are confident he will be ready for Brisbane. Kevin Pietersen has been cleared of serious injury and is available to play the last tour game.
The all-rounder had a cortisone injection on a chronic knee injury, stopping in Melbourne yesterday for the treatment, then rejoining the team in Sydney.
England’s preparation was disrupted with much of the practice game in Hobart lost to bad weather and were dismayed to find themselves having to train indoors yesterday because of bad weather in Sydney.
Clarke was upbeat today at the launch of his Ashes Diary from the recent series loss in Britain. He said the side’s mindset and stability in contrast to the disarray they found themselves before the last series.
Mickey Arthur was sacked on the eve of that contest, Ashton Agar and Steve Smith were brought in from outside the squad and selectors changed the team for every Test.
“I think theres no doubt there’s a lot more stability in our teams whether that be the one day team the Twenty 20 team or the Test team, but I say that not being a selector so maybe I better wait until the teams announced tomorrow and hope my names read out,” Clarke said.
“I look back and the majority of the places hav picked themselves, the exciting thing about where we sit – whether it be batters or bowlers – individual players have stood up and performed.
“Whether it be in the one day format over in India, the Ryobi Cup and now the Sheffield Shield guys have really picked themselves which is an impressive thing for our team.
“It’s what Darren Lehmann and myself asked the guys to do: if you are going back to state cricket or in the one day team make sure you are either taking wickets or scoring runs to be in the selectors minds and I think the selectors are in for a tough job today selecting the 11 or 12 or 13 because guys have been performing so well which is a good dilemma to have.”
Clarke heartily endorsed David Warner going into the series.
“Davey is going great, he’s as fit and as strong as I’ve seen him, he’s in a great spot on and off the field, what more can he do?” he said.
“He’s scored four hundreds in a month, you cant push any harder for selection as a batsman, again I don’t know what the Test XI is but I think Davey has done everything in his power to be at the front of the selectors mind and we find out tomorrow if he is going to get another opportunity and if he does I am confident he is going to have a great summer.”
LIKELY TEST XI FOR BRISBANE: Chris Rogers, David Warner, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (c), Steve Smith, George Bailey, Brad Haddin (vc), Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon