Formula One racing star Michael Schumacher has been released from a French hospital after he cracked his helmet during a ski trip in the French Alps with his family on December 29, 2013. Schumacher was put in a drug induced coma to stabilize his condition. His doctors began withdrawing sedatives to try and wake him up in January.
Here’s what you need to know about his condition:
1. He Showed Moments of ‘Consciousness and Awakening’ in April
Schumacher’s manager, Sabine Kehm, said in a statement that Schumacher showed moments of consciousness while receiving care at Grenoble University Hospital in Grenoble, France after his skiing accident. Schumacher had been skiing off-piste (on unmarked slopes) on the mountains of the Meribel resort. Schumacher’s investigative team believes the racer, an experienced skiier, hit an unseen rock which launched him face first into another rock. When Schumacher was first admitted to the hospital, doctors surgically removed blood clots from his brain that he sustained after hitting his head.
2. He Was Transferred to a Hospital in Switzerland
Schumacher was transferred to Lausanne University Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland, to continue his recovery and rehabilitation. The hospital isn’t far from the family’s Swiss home. Darcy Christen, a spokesperson for Lausanne University Hospital, did confirm Schumacher was admitted, but declined to comment further, “to ensure that he and his family fully enjoy privacy and medical confidentiality.”
3. Experts Say a Full Recovery is ‘Extremely Unlikely’
Medical experts are saying that Schumacher, seen in the video above during a July 2013 interview, probably won’t make a full recovery after sustaining the injuries he did. The Telegraph spoke to Dr. Tipu Aziz, a professor of neurosurgery at Oxford University, who called a full recovery for Schumacher “extremely unlikely.” He said:
The fact he was in a coma for so long … we can assume that he has had quite a bad injury. People don’t tend to make a full recovery from that sort of injury.
Aziz also added that Schumacher’s going into rehabilitation, “suggests there’s been long-term side effects of his injury.”
A former Formula One doctor, Gary Hartstein, wrote in his blog that just because Schumacher has been moved to a rehabilitation facility doesn’t mean he has made huge strides in his recovery. He writes:
Because of the length of time since Michael’s injury, and of the specific role of an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in supporting and monitoring the function of the body’s major systems, it’s almost certain that Michael has not simply been discharged from the ICU to a rehab, without having “transitioned” by a stay on the regular wards. I have never seen a head injury patient with a 5 month ICU admission be transferred directly to a rehab facility…but anything’s possible.
4. Schumacher’s Family Has Thanked Fans for Their Support
Schumacher’s family thanked fans in both German and English on his website for their continued support. The message reads:
We are deeply touched by all the messages to get well soon for Michael which still are being sent from all over the world. This incredible support gives us and him strength. Thank you all so much! We all know, Michael is a fighter and will not give up!
Get-well messages have also been shared on Twitter by fans all over the world. Here are some of the tweets you should see:
— F1 Images (@F1_Images) June 16, 2014
Encouraging news on Michael's condition this morning. We couldn't ask for a better start to the week. #KeepFightingMichael
— MERCEDES AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) June 16, 2014
Great news about Michael Schumacher! Let's hope another step towards a successful recovery
— Jack Poston (@Postonn27) June 16, 2014
— Mark Webber (@WebberFansUK_) June 16, 2014
5. He Retired in 2012
Schumacher retired from Formula One racing in 2012, after his worst season as a professional. Schumacher made his Formula One debut in 1991 and won the Formula One World Championships in 1994, 1995 and from 2000 until 2004.