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Formula 1: Schumacher 'not speeding,' begins 2014 with 'no significant changes'

Sabine Kehm, Michael Schumacher's manager, told reporters on Wednesday, January 1, that the Formula 1 multi-champion has had "no significant changes" in his condition sustained in a skiing accident December 29. The racer remains in critical condition with a brain injury in a hospital in Grenoble, France. Ms. Kehm also maintained that, unlike what has been previously speculated by doctors, she does not believe the racer was skiing at a fast rate of speed when the accident occurred.

Formula 1: Schumacher 'not speeding,' starts 2014 with 'no significant changes'
Formula 1: Schumacher 'not speeding,' starts 2014 with 'no significant changes'
Getty Images.
Formula 1: Schumacher 'not speeding,' begins 2014 with 'no significant changes'
Photo by Micha Will/Bongarts/Getty Images

According to the New York Times, Ms. Kehm spoke with about 100 reporters on New Year's Day outside the hospital, saying, "Michael’s condition has been supervised all night and remained stable over the night and also now. The good news for today is that we do not have the feeling to hold a press conference because there are no significant changes."

On New Year's Eve, Ms. Kehm told reporters the version of what happened as she had been able to piece it together by talking with people who had been with the German racer when the accident occurred. According to a video broadcast by Sky Sports, she said, "I think, after speaking with several people who have been with Michael at this trip and at this moment that Michael and the group have been skiing on slopes, which were normal slopes. Then there is a blue slope and a red slope, and in between there was a part which was at high snow, deep snow."

"Michael went into that," she continued, "but after everything that everyone had told me, he was not even at high speed. It seemed he had even helped a friend who just had fallen on the piste. So, he started to ski again, went into this deep snow, and apparently; this is what we guess, has hit a rock which he had not seen and he wanted to do a curve and was kind of catapulted in the air and apparently hit head down, hitting another rock, which was an extreme bad and unfortunate circumstance and not because he was speeding too much."

"It was something -- I've spoken with several people -- also ski teachers; they tell me that can happen even at 10 km/hour. It was just very, very unfortunate."

Ms. Kehm may have been responding, not only to the speculation doctors expressed for the cause, given the severity of the brain injury they are treating, but to other people who have accused the racer of skiing too fast out of a never-ending "thirst for adrenaline" that, they have said, does not leave top-level motor racers, like Formula 1 drivers, once they retire. Skiing overly fast or not, the blow to Mr. Schumacher's head in the accident did in fact crack the protective helmet he was wearing, according to Ms. Kehm.

The seven-time Formula 1 World Champion has been in the Grenoble University Hospital Center since Sunday, after he was transferred from a hospital close to the ski resort where he fell not long earlier that day. He has undergone two surgeries thus far, one on either side of his head, according to the New York Times report, to relieve pressure on the brain. However, several bruises remain that cannot be reached by surgeons, and their outlook for his recovery has still yet to be determined or announced.

Well-wishers have laid Ferrari flags outside the hospital and used social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to post words of encouragement. FIA President Jean Todt visited the hospital on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press, where the racer's family remains by his side.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Connie Ann Kirk, Ph.D. has been credentialed by the FIA to write about Formula 1. With a historic racer from upstate New York, she is writing a book about racers and racing.

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