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Formula 1: Schumacher out of coma, moved to Switzerland, fellow drivers react

According to multiple sources on Monday, June 16, citing his spokesperson, Sabine Kehm, seven-time Formula 1 World Champion race car driver Michael Schumacher has come out of his medically-induced coma and has been moved from the University Centre Hospital in Grenoble, France to University Hospital of Lausanne in Switzerland.

Formula 1: Schumacher out of coma, fellow drivers react
Formula 1: Schumacher out of coma, fellow drivers react
Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images
Formula 1: Schumacher out of coma, fellow drivers react
Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images

This information was not announced as of Monday afternoon New York time on the retired driver's official website.

According to the BBC, officials at the Grenoble hospital where the champion was taken following a skiing accident in late December of 2013, Schumacher is not only out of the coma he was placed in as part of treatment for swelling of his brain following his injury, but he also left their care and has been moved to Switzerland.

A statement from Kehm, who represents the family, reads according to "Auto Week":

“Michael has left the CHU Grenoble to continue his long phase of rehabilitation. He is not in a coma any more.

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. 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.”

Reactions from fellow drivers remain hopeful.

Fellow countryman and Mercedes Formula 1 driver Nico Rosberg, for example, posted to his Twitter account on Monday: "Really great message that Michael has again made a big step towards recovery. Keep fighting, Michael!"

Spanish Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso posted to his Twitter feed, also on Monday: "Good start of the week with the news of Michael! So happy this is going in the good direction! #KeepFightingMichael."

According to "Autoweek," German television RTL quoted Niki Lauda as saying, "I'm extremely happy. I always believed this news would come. Now I wish he gets through the rehab as quickly as possible and is back with us in Formula One."

However, the noted motor sport publication also mentioned that former F1 doctor Gary Hartstein is not as optimistic. Posting to his blog, he said that the information about Schumacher coming out of a coma is not really "news," since Kehm had indicated since April that the driver has had periodic, and increasing, periods of wakefulness in his treatment.

According to the "New York Times," Lausanne is only about 20 miles northeast from the Schumacher home in Gland, Switzerland. This move will make it easier on the family which has been making the trek to Grenoble since the ski accident occurred last December, a 100-mile plus journey by road. There are two Schumacher children, Gina-Marie, 16 and Mick, 14. Mick was reportedly with his father on the slopes of the French Alps when the accident that caused his father's serious brain injury occurred.

Early investigations into the accident reported that the trails at the slopes were appropriately marked, that Schumacher was not speeding for conditions, and that he was wearing protective head gear. The camera affixed to his helmet may have, however, contributed weakness to the helmet's integrity.

Michael Schumacher won the Formula 1 drivers World Championship in 1994 and 1995 with Benetton; and in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004 with Ferrari. He remains the driver with the highest number of world championships in the history of the sport. Legendary Juan Manuel Fangio of the 1950s era has the next closest number of wins, with five.

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