Michael Schumacher ‘critical’ after skiing accident

Former F1 world champion injured at ski resort this morning

Former F1 world champion Michael Schumacher, 44, suffered a head injury in a skiing accident this morning in Meribel in the French Alps, according to local media.

Former F1 world champion Michael Schumacher, 44, suffered a head injury in a skiing accident this morning in Meribel in the French Alps, according to local media.

Sun, Dec 29, 2013, 22:41

Michael Schumacher’s condition has worsened, and the seven-time Formula One world champion is now critical after a skiing accident in France, according to reports.

French media initially reported that Schumacher’s injuries were not life-threatening. But details on his exact condition were awaited following his transfer to Grenoble hospital where, according to one report, he was said to be suffering from a “severe brain trauma”.

According to Sky Sports Germany, a medical bulletin released on Sunday night by University Hospital of Grenoble spokesman Jean-Marc Grenier, said the 44-year-old German was in a coma. “He suffered a head trauma with coma which required neurosurgical treatment,” read the bulletin. “He remains in a critical condition.”

Schumacher’s wife Corinna and his two children are reportedly at his bedside. He was wearing a helmet when he fell on the unmarked slope on Sunday morning. The head of the Meribel ski resort, where the record-breaking sports legend had been skiing with his 14-year-old son, told Radio Monte Carlo that the 44-year-old German had been evacuated by helicopter after falling and striking his head on a rock at 11.07am local time.

Schumacher’s spokeswoman, Sabine Kehm, issued a terse statement confirming the accident and saying that no one else was involved in the fall.

“Michael fell on his head when he was on a private skiing trip in the French Alps. He was taken to hospital and is receiving professional medical attention. We ask for understanding that we cannot give out continuous information about his health,” the statement said.

The Meribel director Christophe Gernignon-Lecomte said rescuers had reached the injured sportsman eight minutes after the accident.

“He was in shock, somewhat shaken, but conscious” when he was taken to the nearest hospital at Moutiers, before being helicoptered to Grenoble, said Gernignon-Lecomte.

He also said Schumacher’s head injury was not serious, but a resort spokesman said later that the Meribel officials were waiting for a fuller medical report.

The Dauphine Libere newspaper reported after his transfer to Grenoble that Schumacher was suffering from a severe brain trauma but that his injuries were not life-threatening. The hospital specialises in skiing-related accidents.

Schumacher was skiing close to one of the resort’s most difficult pistes, reserved for the world’s most accomplished skiers, when he fell. Meribel, where Schumacher owns a chalet, is one of the top ski resorts in the French Alps.

He was off-piste under la Dent de Burgin, located between the extremely difficult pistes of La Biche and Mauduit, named after former French skiing champion Georges Mauduit.

The Meribel spokesman Julien Clatot said the weather was clear and sunny, although there was a “very high” risk of avalanches because of heavy snowfall over the past two days. Like other Alpine resorts, Meribel discourages off-piste skiing, which should not be undertaken without a guide.

Schumacher retired for the final time in 2012 after a three-season Formula One comeback with Mercedes. (Guardian Service, PA)

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