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Schumacher faces life as invalid: Swiss specialist

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Photo: AFP
20:19 CEST+02:00
After coming out of a coma, Michael Schumacher, now receiving treatment in a Lausanne hospital, is destined to remain an invalid for the rest of his life, a Swiss medical specialist says.

“He will remain an invalid all is life and will always remain dependent on others’ help,” Erich Riederer, a Zurich-based specialist in neurology (nervous system disorders), told 20 Minuten newspaper on Monday in a brutal assessment of the Formula One legend’s future.

Schumacher’s entourage revealed earlier that the 45-year-old German, a resident of Switzerland, had come out of a coma induced in January and had left a Grenoble hospital where he was being treated for a head injury from a ski accident suffered in December.

He was transported to the university hospital (CHUV) in Lausanne, where a special space has been equipped to treat him, the hospital said.

Riederer said Schumacher has a long period of rehabilitative therapy ahead of him because he will have suffered “permanent” damage.

“But first it is an incredibly positive message when someone wakes up after being in a coma for half a year,” he told 20 Minuten.

“For him it is positive, but also for his family, this is hugely important.”

After being in a coma for such a long period, Riederer said Schumacher is likely in a skeletal condition and will have lost a lost of muscle.

It would be a success if he is able to sit up unaided after three months, or perhaps control an electric wheelchair in six months, he said.

Riederer speculated that Schumacher may be transferred again to a specialized clinic in German-speaking Switzerland, such as one for paraplegics in Nottwil in the canton of Lucerne.

German tabloid Bild reported that Schumacher has already communicated with his wife Corinna and their two teenaged children.

The seven-time F1 world champion officially lives in the town of Gland in the canton of Vaud.

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His actual condition remains a well-guarded secret, with his spokeswoman Sabine Kehm issuing a statement early Monday saying that “he is not in a coma any more” and he had left Grenoble “to continue his long phase of rehabilitation”.

Former F1 doctor Gary Hartstein suggested in a blog post on Monday that Schumacher may have emerged from the coma several weeks ago.

In April, Kehm said that Schumacher had moments of wakening and consciousness, indicating that already at that point he was no longer in a coma, Hartstein said.

Earlier this month, Hartstein stated that based on other such cases he was afraid "we will never have any good news about Michael".

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