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SCHUMACHER

Doctors begin waking Schumacher from coma

Doctors treating Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher have begun waking him from a medically induced coma a month after he suffered a near fatal accident whilst skiing in the French Alps, his manager said on Thursday.

Doctors begin waking Schumacher from coma
Doctors have begun bringing Michael Scumacher, seen here skiing in the Alps, out of coma. Photo: AFP

Doctors have started trying to bring Formula One legend Michael Schumacher out of his month-long induced coma, his spokeswoman said Thursday.

The drugs used to keep Schumacher, 45, unconscious have begun to be reduced, though it may be some time yet before he comes to, the spokeswoman, Sabine Kehm, said in a statement.

"For the protection of the family, it was originally agreed by the interested parties to communicate this information only once this process was consolidated," it added.

Kehm said no more updates would be given and asked media to respect the privacy of Schumacher's family and to not disturb the doctors treating him.

The statement follows speculation among the French media on Wednesday that doctors had started to try to wake Schumacher up from his month-long coma.

After his December 29th fall at Meribel ski resort in the French Alps, Schumacher was sedated and cooled to around 35C to ease the risk of further damage to the brain.

Surgeons at Grenoble University Hospital say they decided on the coma after operating on bleeding and bruising in his brain.

They carried out a post-operative scan that revealed "widespread lesions" on both sides of the brain. A second operation, to treat bleeding, took place on December 30th.

It was unknown in what state he would be if the waking process is successful.

Experts said it was rare to keep a patient in an artificial coma for more than three weeks.

In accidents of a similar severity, patients often had a disability after their emergence from coma, the experts noted

Schumacher dominated Formula One for much of his racing career before his retirement in 2012.

He won the F1 title seven times, more than any other driver, and notched up 91 victories between 1994 and 2004.

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FORMULA ONE

Manager blasts French Schumacher story

On the one-year anniversary of Formula One racing great Michael Schumacher's skiing accident in France, his manager is warning that reports on Schumacher's health in a French newspaper are false.

Manager blasts French Schumacher story
Formula One champion Michael Schumacher skiing. Photo: DPA
Sabine Kehm, Schumacher's manager, told Bild that there was no way the information in Le Parisien was credible. 
 
Former Formula One driver Philippe Streiff told the French daily on Sunday that the German seven-time racing champion was "communicating with this eyes" and that while he's recognizing his family again, he still has "big problems with his memory." 
 
He added that physically, Schumacher was working on sitting up on his own. 
 
Streiff cited his friendship with Schumacher's doctor, Gérard Saillant as the source of this information. He also said he had contact with Corinna Schumacher, Michael's wife of nearly 20 years.
 
"The statements of Philippe Streiff can only make me wonder. He definitely does not have contact with Professor Saillant and definitely not with Corinna." 
 
Streiff also called Schumacher "my friend", saying that he worked with the Schumachers in 2010 when they founded the Brain and Spine Institute in Paris (ICM), where he also works.
 
Furthermore, Streiff lives in Grenoble, where Schumacher was first hospitalised after a freak skiing accident put him into a six-month-long coma. 
 
"I was there," Streiff told Le Parisien. 
 
Michael Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm. Photo: DPA
 
This only provoked further ire for Schumacher's spokesperson. 
 
"There is absolutely no contact with the Schumacher family. There has never been a friendship between Mr Streiff and Michael," Kehm said. 
 
It's been one year since the German Formula One ace suffered severe head injuries while skiing with this family in the French Alps.
 
After being in a coma for half a year, Schumacher is "making progress appropriate to the severity of his situation, but it will be a difficult and long process," Kehm said in November in an interview with broadcaster RTL. 
 
Schumi, as he is known in Germany, has been recovering in his home in Gland, Switzerland.
 
His family say they were "confident and hoping for the best" for his recovery. 
 
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