A brain injury specialist has said that Michael Schumacher will be a completely different person should he survive the severe head injuries he suffered in a skiing accident in December, admitting that “he will not be Michael Schumacher”.
The seven-time Formula One world champion is currently being treated in Grenoble University Hospital for brain injuries he suffered in an accident while skiing off-piste in Meribel in the French Alps.
Doctors in France have begun tests on the 45-year-old German, who has been in an artificially induced coma for over two weeks following the tragic accident. Schumacher struck his head on a rock that left his helmet split in two, and has subsequently undergone two operations to relieve swelling of his brain and remove haematomas.
Fans worldwide have sent their messages of support to both Schumacher and his family, which included a silent vigil held near the hospital where he is being treated on January 3 - the day of his 45th birthday - but Dr Richard Greenwood of the University College London Hospital has warned that a successful recovery would still involve adjusting to an entirely different life.
The acute brain injury specialist was reported by The Times as saying: “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.
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 January 6, 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.
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