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'Best possible care' for Schumacher

By Agence France-Presse in Lausanne | China Daily | Updated: 2014-06-18 07:15

Legendary driver moved to Swiss hospital after emerging from coma

Formula One champion Michael Schumacher was transferred from a French hospital to a facility in Switzerland on Monday after emerging from a coma following his devastating ski accident in December.

In a surprise announcement, the retired German racing star's spokesman Sabine Kehm said he had left hospital in the French Alpine city of Grenoble, where he had been treated since Dec 29 when he slammed his head on a rock while skiing with his son and friends.

The 45-year-old Schumacher was transferred to a hospital in the Swiss city of Lausanne, where he will be undergoing further treatment, hospital spokesman Darcy Christen said.

Stressing the hospital's commitment to privacy, Christen said Schumacher's family was with him "in a space created especially to ensure their intimacy and to ensure he's getting the best possible care."

The Lausanne hospital has renowned neurology experts and Schumacher, his wife Corinna and two children live nearby in the small town of Gland.

Dozens of journalists were parked in front of the facility, but in a country that fiercely respects privacy, the crowd was far smaller than it was in December when news of his accident in the French skiing resort of Meribel attracted throngs of media and fans to the Grenoble hospital.

In a statement, the spokesman said the family wanted to "thank all the 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. For the future, we ask for understanding that his further rehabilitation will take place away from the public eye."

There were no details about Schumacher's condition, which has been kept under a tight lid since his accident.

The seven-time world champion underwent two operations to remove life-threatening blood clots after the freak accident that shocked the world, then was placed in a medically induced coma.

Schumacher's family announced at the end of January that drugs used to keep him in his deep sleep were being reduced with a view to bringing him back to consciousness.

Since then, Kehm had said he was showing short moments of consciousness, but few other details had filtered out and it is still unclear as to what the future holds for the man who cheated death countless times on racing circuits around the globe.

French specialist Bernard Vigue, at the Bicetre Hospital outside Paris, said he had no information about Schumacher's condition but that "progress is still possible" for patients who had spent six months in an artificial coma after suffering a brain injury.

Known as the "Red Baron," Schumacher made his debut in 1991 and dominated Formula One not long after. A ruthless and at times controversial competitor, he won an unprecedented 91 races and five consecutive world titles with Ferrari from 2000 to 2004.

He first retired at 37 but was unable to resist the lure of the track. In 2010, he came back but failed to duplicate his previous performances, and he quit for good in 2012.

Retirement did not dull his relish for adrenaline. He kept pursuing thrill-seeking hobbies as the holder of a pilot's licence, an accomplished motorbike rider, parachutist, skier and mountain climber.

Schumacher survived a motorbike accident in Spain in 2009, during which he suffered head and neck injuries but was released from hospital after just five hours - a far cry from his December skiing crash.


Chinese supporters of Michael Schumacher breathed a sigh of relief and lit up social media when they learned the seven-time Formula One champion had emerged from a medically induced coma on Monday.

"Schumacher is back," said Kang Guoping on Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter. "That's the best news to the world."

Schumacher was transferred from a French hospital to a facility in Switzerland after emerging from a coma following a devastating skiing accident in December.

China's popular news portal Sina splashed Schumacher news on its front page as the ongoing World Cup finals took a back seat for a day.

Schumacher once registered himself as a professional soccer player for a Swiss club which he eventually purchased in 2000, and he often showed off his skills in charity games.

Judging by the social media chatter, Chinese fans believed Schumacher's awakening was a good sign for Germany, which whipped Portugal 4-0 in their Group G opener.

"The World Cup would be magic medicine for the racer," a netizen said on Weibo. "Schumacher's wake-up is a good omen for the German team."

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