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Michael Schumacher in a ‘vegetative state’, renowned brain surgeon says

The seven-time Formula One champion was in a coma for six months after the accident Getty Images


Michael Schumacher in a ‘vegetative state’, renowned brain surgeon says


According to prominent neurosurgeon Erich Riederer, Formula One icon Michael Schumacher is believed to be in a vegetative state with little prospect of ever fully recovering.

Riederer made the alarming allegation in a recent documentary that aired on French television.

He told TMC, “I think he’s in a vegetative state, which means he’s awake but not responding.

“Schumacher might never fully recover from the traumatic brain injury he suffered seven years ago,” Erich added.

The German sustained catastrophic brain damage in a skiing accident in the French Alps in 2013, and his family has kept a careful eye on his condition.

Michael Schumacher suffered devastating brain injuries in a skiing accident in 2013 Credit: AFP via Getty Images


He has not been seen in public since the accident over seven years ago, and little information about his present condition has been disclosed.

The German’s injuries were so serious that he was put into a medically induced coma despite wearing a helmet.

“He is breathing, his heart is beating, he can probably sit up and take baby steps with help, but no more.

“I think that’s the maximum for him. Is there any chance of seeing him like he was before his accident? I really don’t think so,” the neurologist said.

By June 2014, Schumacher had recovered consciousness and was on his way to the University Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland, for additional rehabilitation.

Due to his catastrophic brain damage, Schumacher required two surgical procedures after his accident before being placed in a six-month medically induced coma.

He left the Swiss hospital in September of that year to complete his recuperation at home.

This has boosted the expectations of Schumacher’s millions of fans, but Riederer, who has no personal ties to Schumacher and is speaking as an outsider, has a more pessimistic view of the prognosis.

It’s unclear whether Riederer has met with Schumacher or what information he’s using to develop his professional judgement.

In November, Schumacher was said to be “paralyzed and in a wheelchair,” and that he “cannot speak and has memory problems.”

Todt stated he had just visited the seven-time world champion at his house, days before Riderer’s interview.

Former Ferrari CEO Jean Todt (right) recently visited Schumacher and gave an update on him Credit: AFP via Getty Images

In a July 2019 interview, former Ferrari CEO Jean Todt stated that Schumacher was making “good progress” but “struggles to communicate.” Todt further mentioned that the motorsport legend was allowed to watch Formula 1 races on television.

He said: ‘I saw Michael last week. He is fighting.

‘My God, we know he had a terrible and unfortunate skiing accident which has caused him a lot of problems.

‘But he has an amazing wife next to him, he has his kids, his nurses, and we can only wish him the best and to wish the family the best, too.

‘All I can do is to be close to them until I am able to do something, and then I will do it.’

It was also stated that Schumacher underwent stem cell surgery in September at the Georges-Pompidou hospital in Paris in an attempt to restore his neurological system, although it is unclear if the procedure was successful at this time.

Earlier this year, surgeon Nicola Acciari predicted that the star would no longer be recognisable to F1 fans.

Schumacher, pictured with his wife Corinna.
AFP via Getty Images

“We must imagine a person very different from the one we remember on the track, with a very altered and deteriorated organic, muscular and skeletal structure,” he said.

The sports sensation was not treated by Acciari, who works for a hospital in Bologna.

On the track, the German was known for his fiery competitive attitude, but his off-track demeanour, according to another F1 manager, Ross Brawn, was the polar opposite.

Brawn said: ‘So many times I introduced him to people who, before they met him, thought he was a despicable, horrible character and you introduce them, and once they got to know him they completely changed.

‘I had that happen so many times because there was Michael the racing driver out on the track and there was Michael the human being away from the track.

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