Champion Michael Schumacher has exhibited enough positive signs recently that his family is now confident he will wake up from his 10-week medically induced coma, according to Sabine Kehm, his manager today, Wednesday, March 12. The seven time Formula One world champion is still fighting for his life after he suffered a severe head injury Dec. 29 while skiing in the French Alps.
She said, "There sometimes are small, encouraging signs, but we also know that this is the time to be very patient. "
The good news came on the heels of pessimistic news in recent days from several sources. Only recently Kehm denied an Italian newspaper's report that Michael had been taken off the ventilator and was now breathing independently. And shortly before that a negative report came from German news sources that doctors had told the Schumacher family "that it would take a miracle" for Michael to survive the accident.
It is ironic that Schumacher risked his life on an almost weekly basis driving for Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes on the Formula One circuits and suffered nothing more serious than a broken leg. His wife Corinna has been by his side through the championships and now through this his most serious test ever.
Corinna, 45, has been in his hospital room on a daily basis talking to him through the drug-induced coma in the hopes he will recognize her voice and emerge from his deep sleep. Father Rolf and son Ralf have also been frequent visitors to the champion's room to offer Michael their support and encouragement.
One of the keys to the successful marriage the Schumachers have enjoyed for all these years has reportedly been her willingness to not discourage him from participating in the dangerous Formula One arena. Now, her support along with his steel determination may be keys to his recovery from the precipice of eternity.
Schumacher's freak injury occurred near the Meribel resort in the French Alps when his skis struck a rock covered by snow sending him airborne for 34 feet before his helmet struck a larger rock. The impact split his helmet and resulted in a severe head injury.
Immediately after the accident, he was conscious and heard speaking several words before he was flown by helicopter to University Hospital in Genoble, France. Doctors there were able to perform two surgeries on his brain and remove several blood clots which threatened his life.
He was placed into a medically-induced coma to allow his brain to heal. Before today's positive statement by his manager of many years, fans around the world had been pelted with negative news about his condition. One so-called expert said that most people would have already been disconnected from life support after ten weeks in a coma.
The alltime winningest driver in Formula One history retired after 19 years of dominating the Grand Prix circuits from Nurburgring to Monte Carlo to Indianapolis to Rio de Janeiro. Michael has won 91 Formula One races. The great French driver Alain Prost is second with 51 wins.
Managers of the Bahrain circuit recently named the first corner after Schumacher in honor of his unparalleled career. He reportedly provided input when the track was constructed only a few years ago.
His seven world championships place him first in the pantheon of greatest drivers ever. The great Juan Manuel Fangio, of Argentina, is second with five world championships in the 1950s. Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Alain Prost of France are tied for third with four championships each. Also considered among the greatest are Scotsman Jacky Stewart, Ayrton Senna of Brazil and Jim Clark.
While he was winning five straight world championships from 2000 until 2004 driving for the Prancing Horses of Ferraria, he outduelled multiple world champion Mika Hakkinen of Finland who drove for McLaren and Damon Hill of Britain who raced for Williams.
With the upcoming Formula One season set to commence in only a few days at the Australian Grand Prix it would lift the spirits of millions of Schumacher fans everywhere if he were to continue his signs of improving. It would be even more appropriate if he were to emerge from his coma on race day.
With the champion's determination and his family's support, his complete recovery would not shock any of his fans who span the globe.