Michael Schumacher’s family says continued fan support is giving F1 champion ‘strength’ to recover from coma
The family’s latest update comes just a day after French prosecutors ruled out any wrongdoing in his skiing accident
Michael Schumacher’s family have again thanked fans for their well wishes, insisting that their continued support is giving them – and the former F1 champion – the strength to cope in the face of adversity.
Writing in both German and English, they posted the following message on the sportsman’s official website:
"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!"
The family’s latest update comes just a day after French prosecutors ruled out any wrongdoing in a skiing accident that saw Schumacher catapulted more than 34 feet, before he hit his head on a rock at the end of December 2013. He was holidaying in the exclusive French ski resort of Meribel at the time.
The 45-year-old German suffered a serious head trauma and was placed in a medically induced coma for over a month.
Schumacher is still receiving round-the-clock intensive care in the Grenoble University Hospital.
In the wake of rumours that he had contracted pneumonia, his family issued a statement saying that they "strongly believed" he would recover, but that he was "still in the waking up process" as doctors attempt to bring him out of his coma.
The most important element of his recovery, they added, was that it progressed in a "continuous and controlled way".
Public support has remained strong for the star throughout. Fans carried out a silent vigil for the former Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes driver in December.
Meanwhile, in Belgium, there was another tribute to the most successful racer of all time, as fans marched around the famous Spa-Franchorchamps circuit where he made his debut back in 1991 and took an unmatched six victories.
And remains hope that he could yet fight through the ordeal.
However, leading brain injury specialist Dr Richard Greenwood warned earlier this month that an injury of this kind will mean his personality will have changed.
"If Schumacher survives, he will not be Schumacher," said Dr Greenwood.
"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."
Former F1 doctor Professor Gary Hartstein has also warned that is it “extremely unlikely” that Schumacher will make a full recovery if he pulls through, though described his condition as encouraging.
Hartstein was a key figure in the F1 paddock from 1997 onwards as he aided Professor Sid Watkins with medical care – having worked at Spa from 1990 – before he was selected to take over from Watkins on a permanent basis.
He presided over Schumacher’s dominant reign when he won five consecutive championships between 2000 and 2004, and maintained his presence when Schumacher made his comeback in 2010 until his eventual retirement in 2012.
Speaking to the BBC, Professor Hartstein said: "The fact that he is still sedated and not in an unsedated coma is better news than I expected."
As pre-season testing got underway in Jerez for the 2014 season, the Ferrari team issued another message of support for their former racer, who remains a hero to the Tifosi due to the success he brought to the Italian manufacturer.
A statement on their website read: "Dear Michael, having spent so many years at Ferrari, you became one of us. You thrilled us so often, bringing us great joy, but the greatest one is yet to come: namely seeing you here in Maranello again, to meet your second family, the Ferrari one."
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