Face of the day

Doctors treating Michael Schumacher said on Monday they were fighting “hour by hour” to save the former Formula One driver’s life after he cracked his head on a rock during an off-piste skiing accident in the French Alps.

Dr Jean-Francois Payen, the chief anaesthesiologist at the Grenoble hospital treating Schumacher, said the next 48 hours would be crucial. A brain scan revealed internal bleeding and multiple lesions. “He is in a critical condition … His condition is deemed very serious,” Payen told a news conference. “For the moment, we cannot predict the future for Michael Schumacher.”

The seven-times Formula One champion was airlifted to Grenoble on Sunday after falling heavily and hitting his head while skiing on an unmarked slope at the chic resort of Méribel.

It soon emerged that the accident, initially played down by a spokesman for the resort, had a devastating impact on Schumacher, who was in a coma by the time he arrived at Grenoble.

“He is in a critical state of cerebral resuscitation,” said Payen. “We are working hour by hour.” Doctors said his ongoing treatment was aimed at oxygenating the brain and stopping the swelling. On Monday night, Schumacher, due to turn 45 on Friday, remained in a medically induced coma designed to help his recovery.

The gravity of the retired champion’s condition prompted figures from across the sporting world to express their shock at the accident and solidarity with a man regarded as one of the greatest racing drivers in Formula One’s history.

The current world champion and fellow German Sebastian Vettel, who has been dubbed “Baby Schumi” by his country’s media, led a chorus of support and concern from the sport. “I am shocked and hope that he gets better as quickly as possible. I wish his family much strength.” – The Guardian

I remember back to when he was in his prime, I was a big fan often setting my alarm for 11:45pm to watch his race due to the time zones, and getting to bed at 2:15am for a short sleep before waking at 4am to milk the cows. There were times when his tactics came under question, but in my eyes he was and is the greatest driver I’ve had the pleasure of watching in Formula 1 racing.

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