Michael Schumacher’s manager has confirmed that his condition has remained stable following the skiing accident that has left him in a medically induced coma.
Sabine Kehm released a new statement on the Formula One champion’s health, and did not mention the word “critical” for the first time since he suffered traumatic head injuries on 29 December after veering off-piste on the ski slopes of Meribel in the French Alps.
“Michael's family is very happy and confident with the work of the team of doctors treating Michael, and they trust them completely. Michael's condition is still considered as stable,” Kehm said.
The news will come as a relief to many, who feared for the mortality of the 54-year-old German sportsman currently being treated at the Grenoble University Hospital in France.
Career in Pictures: Michael Schumacher
Career in Pictures: Michael Schumacher
1/17 February 2006
Michael Schumacher is seen in the pits during a training session at the Ricardo Tormo racetrack in Cheste near Valencia in 2006
2/17 November 1994
Hugging two team mechanics in delight for becoming World Champion Driver after the Australian Grand Prix at the Adelaide circuit in November 1994
3/17 October 1995
Flavio Briatore carries a jubilant Michael after he wins the Pacific F1 Grand Prix at Aida in Japan, and wins his second World Drivers Championshp
4/17 February 1996
Schmacher pushes his Ferrari back to the pits after engine trouble left him stranded at the entrance of the pitlane during pre-season testing at Estoril, Portugal
5/17 March 1996
During the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne
6/17 March 1997
Michael Schumacher in the pit lane during the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia
7/17 October 2000
Celebrating on the podium after winning the formula one world championship at the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, Japan
8/17 July 2006
Michael Schumacher of Germany and Ferrari leads the pack into the first corner at the start of the French Formula One Grand Prix at the Nevers Magny-Cours Circuit
Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images
9/17 October 2010
Michael Schumacher drives during the Korean Formula One Grand Prix at the Korea International Circuit
Clive Mason/Getty Images
10/17 October 2011
Michael Schumacher and Mercedes GP waves to the crowd as he attends the drivers parade before the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit on October 30, 2011 in Noida, India
11/17 December 2011
Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher celebrate after winning the Nations Cup at day one of the race of champions event at the Esprit Arena
12/17 June 2012
Michael Schumacher drives at the Valencia Street Circuit on June 22, 2012 in Valencia during the first practice race of the European Formula One Grand Prix
13/17 September 2012
Michael Schumacher crashes into the back of Jean-Eric Vergne of France and Scuderia Toro Rosso during the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix in September 2012
14/17 November 2012
Schumacher drives in his last race during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace
Mark Thompson/Getty Images
15/17 December 2013
Deputy director Jean Marc Grenier talks to media outside the CHU Nord hospital in Grenoble, French Alps
16/17 December 2013
Members of the staff are seen outside the emergency services at the CHU Nord hospital in Grenoble, French Alps; this is the hospital where retired seven-times Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher is reported to be hospitalized after a ski accident
17/17 December 2013
A Scuderia Ferrari and Michael Schumacher fan waits, on December 29, in Grenoble, in front of the emergency department of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire hospital
A brain injury specialist said that if Schumacher is brought out of his comatose state, he will be a completely different person.
Dr Richard Greenwood of the University College London Hospital told The Times: “If Schumacher survives, he will not be Schumacher.
“He will be [Joe] Bloggs. His rehabilitation will only be effective if he comes to terms with being Bloggs.
“That is a very, very hard process to take people through. They need to come to terms with their limitations — the fact they have changed.”
Dr Greenwood was speaking at the launch of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, in which it found that people who had suffered a traumatic head injury were three times as likely to die prematurely as those who had not.
More than 220,000 people were tested in the extensive research.
Schumacher’s manager Sabine Kehm last issued a statement in which she confirmed that anything reported from a source away from either herself or the Schumacher family “must be treated as invalid and pure speculation”.
Speaking on 6 January, Kehm said: “I can confirm Michael's condition can be considered stable.
“I can't confirm to have stated his life is out of danger.”
Schumacher remains in a “stable but critical condition”, and no further update will be issued until doctors have seen a change on his status as he continues to fight for his life.