Former Formula One racing driver Michael Schumacher has emerged from a coma almost six months after a skiing accident in the French Alps.
Sabine Kehm, Schumacher’s manager, released a statement to the media earlier today confirming earlier rumours and reports by saying: “Michael has left the CHU Grenoble [Hospital] to continue his long phase of rehabilitation … he is not in a coma anymore”.
The rest of the statement read:
“His family would like to explicitly thank all his treating doctors, nurses and therapists in Grenoble as well as the first aiders at the place of the accident, who did an excellent job in those first months.
“The family also wishes to thank all the people who have sent Michael all the many good wishes to Michael. We are sure it helped him.
“For the future we ask for understanding that his further rehabilitation will take place away from the public eye.”
According to The Guardian, a spokesman for the University Hospital of Lausanne, Switzerland, has confirmed that Schumacher has been transferred there, although he declined to specify which unit of the hospital the former Formula One world champion is in.
The Sun reported in late March that Schumacher’s wife, Corinna, had spent 10 million pounds ($18.1m) to build a state-of-the-art medical suite at their home in Switzerland on the shores of Lake Geneva.
On December 29 Schumacher fell and hit his head on a rock while skiing off piste at the Meribel resort in the French Alps. He was rushed to the hospital in Grenoble where he fell into a state of coma. He was operated on twice to remove blood clots from his brain.
Doctors decided to medically prolong his coma, as well as putting him in a state of hypothermia, in order to relieve the pressure on his bruised brain and hopefully aid his recovery. Until now Schumacher has failed to emerge from his coma, although there were rumours in late March and early April that he was showing moments of consciousness.
Michael Schumacher won seven Formula One championships, his first two with Benetton in 1994 and 1995. After switching to Ferrari in 1996, Schumacher broke Ferrari’s 21 year drought when he won five straight drivers’ championships between 2000 and 2004.
He retired in 2006, only to return to Formula One with the Mercedes-Benz team in 2010. He only managed a podium place once, at the 2012 European Grand Prix, during his three years with the silver arrows. He retired at the end of the 2012 season.
All up, Schumacher drove in 308 Grand Prix races, secured 91 victories, 68 pole positions and seven world championships.