Doctors treating Formula 1 multi-champion Michael Schumacher for a brain injury sustained in a skiing accident in the French Alps on Sunday gave a press conference Monday morning, December 30, at the hospital in Grenoble where the German remains as a patient. At the conference, doctors said the former racer is "fighting for his life."
"We cannot predict the future for Michael Schumacher," said Jean Francois Payen, chief anesthesiologist at Grenoble University Hospital Center in a translated video of the conference provided by "The Guardian."
Stephan Chabardes, Neurosurgeon at Grenoble Hospital said, "Mr. Schumacher was the victim of a serious cranial trauma, while skiing on December 29. When doctors took him in he was agitated. His neurological state deteriorated rapidly. He had to be transported by helicopter quickly to the Grenoble Hospital."
"On arrival, we found out, at a clinical level, that he was in a serious state, in a coma with signs of intercranial hypertension."
Dr. Payen commented, "I would say that this accident took place at high speed, that he was taken care of immediately, and without delay, right up to our hospital, where he was operated on upon arrival after a cerebral scan and after that his state is at a critical stage at the level of his cerebral reanimation. All treatments currently recommended are in place and that, for the moment, we cannot say what will happen to Michael Schumacher."
According to a video and translation provided by "The Telegraph," Dr. Payen went on to say, "He is in an induced coma, in a hypothermic state. He is undergoing treatment that seeks to limit to the maximum the reaction of brain swelling, and which treats the pressure in his brain. Our objective is to reduce the increased pressure in the brain. We are now discussing treatment and we are working hour by hour."
BBC News's video transcription includes Dr. Payen answering a question by saying, "He is in a critical situation, and we can say he is fighting for his life."
"We judge him to be in a very serious condition," he continued. "We cannot tell you what the outcome can be yet. We're working permanently, hour-by-hour, but it's too early to say what's going to happen and to give a prognostic."
According to the "Washington Post," Dr. Payen also commented about the skier wearing a helmet. "Someone who had suffered this accident without a helmet would not have made it this far,” he said.
Michael Schumacher will be 45 on Friday. He won the Formula 1 World Championship a record seven times, twice driving for Benetton and five times for Ferrari.
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.