Inside battle to save Michael Schumacher’s life moments after horror ski crash left him with catastrophic brain injuries
MICHAEL Schumacher’s life hung by a thread as medics battled to save him after the ski crash that left him with horrific brain injuries.
The Formula 1 legend was airlifted off the ski slope above Méribel in the French Alps after his head hit a rock while he was skiing with his son Mick.
Schumacher fell and hit his head while crossing an off-piste area – suffering a serious head injury despite wearing a ski helmet during the 2013 accident, which was just a year after he retired.
When the seven time world Formula 1 champion arrived at Grenoble University Hospital’s intensive care unit, a team of medics was waiting to spring into action to save his life.
Professor Jean-Francois Payen said it was a case of working “hour by hour” as the team went took three key measures to save then 44-year-old’s life.
First, he was placed into a medically-induced coma to relieve pressure on his brain.
Doctors lowered his body temperature to 34-35C as part of the coma, slowing his metabolism to help reduce inflammation.
A surgical team then operated urgently to release some pressure in his head.
At one point his family were told to brace themselves for the worst and the situation was bleaker than doctors had made out.
“The family has been told that only a miracle can bring him back now,” a senior German journalist was reported as saying.
At the time, medics said Schumacher was likely to stay in an induced coma for at least 48 hours, or even several weeks.
In the end he was placed in a medically induced coma for almost six months after the accident.
In June 2014, he was discharged from hospital so he could receive treatment at his family home near Switzerland’s Lake Geneva.
Only small trickles of information have been released since, with reports that Schumacher remains in a wheelchair and can react to things around him.
Schumacher is now 53 and his health remains a mystery and his wife Corinna has kept a tight grip on details about his health.
She recently down in tears during an emotional ceremony as the F1 legend was honoured with an award.
Speaking in a Netflix documentary Corinna revealed “I miss Michael every day”.
Although she admitted he was “different,” she insisted that “he’s here and that gives us strength”.
Corinna also offered a brief glimpse as their life at home saying: “We’re together. We live together at home. We do therapy.”
In 2019, it was reported that Schumacher was set to undergo breakthrough stem cell therapy in a bid to regenerate and rebuild his nervous system.
Renowned French cardiologist Dr Philippe Menasche, who had operated on him previously, was set to carry out the treatment to transfer cells from Schumacher’s heart to his brain in 2019.
But he warned fans that he “does not work miracles” following the first widely-reported stem cell therapy on the sports star the previous year.
He also slammed claims he was carrying out “experiments” on the legendary racing driver.
Following the treatment at the Georges Pompidou Hospital in Paris, France, he was said to be “conscious”, although few other details were given about his condition.
But he said details of Schumacher’s treatment would remain “secret” for reasons of medical confidentiality.
It’s reported Schumacher has received medical care costing as much as £115,000-a-week as his family, friends and pals all hope he can recover from his horror ski crash.
His family have reportedly been forced to sell off Schumacher’s beloved private jet and holiday home in Norway – worth an estimated £25m – in a bid to cover his medical costs.
In 2020, his former boss and close friend Jean Todt revealed Schumacher was receiving treatment tailored to help him “return to a more normal life”.
Todt, who oversaw five of his seven titles as Ferrari team boss, is one of just a handful of visitors allowed to see him at home.
He told Radio Monte-Carlo he had watched F1 races with the legendary driver on TV.
“I’m always careful with such statements, but it’s true. I saw the race together with Michael Schumacher at his home in Switzerland.”
Recent reports have suggested the Schumacher family are seeking to spend the winter months at a new property in Majorca.
Schumacher is one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time, dominating the sport in the early 2000s after rising to power in the 90s.
He raced from 1991 to 2006, and again from 2010 to 2012 – a second act of his career which saw him become instrumental in setting up Lewis Hamilton’s dominant Mercedes team.
The German won five world championships with Ferrari and two for Benetton.
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