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Doctors start bringing Schumacher out of coma

Manager warns reawakening process could take a long time

30 January, 16:01
Doctors start bringing Schumacher out of coma (By Paul Virgo) (ANSA) - Rome, January 30 - Doctors have started gradually bringing Michael Schumacher out of the drug-induced coma he has been in since suffering head injuries in a skiing accident in the French Alps a month ago, the seven-time Formula One world champion's manager said on Thursday. "The sedatives given to Michael have been decreasing for a few days in order to start the reawakening process, which could take a long time," said manager Sabine Kehm. French daily L'Equipe said Thursday that the 45-year-old German was starting to move his eyelids and was no longer in danger of losing his life.

L'Equipe broke the news Wednesday that the former Ferrari driver was gradually being brought out of the coma at a Grenoble hospital, but Kehm dismissed that report as speculation at the time.

"Initially, the interested parties agreed not to communicate this medical information until the reawakening process was complete to protect the family," Kehm explained Thursday.

"So we will not give any information about the intermediate stages. "Michael Schumacher's family again ask for his intimacy and medical secrecy to be respected and for the health professionals not to be disturbed in their work".

The driver's family made an appeal for privacy soon after the accident when one journalist went so far as to disguise himself as a priest in an attempt to get close to the racing icon.

Ferrari have been leading the demonstrations of affection and support as the 45-year-old German continues the biggest battle of his life. Each day the team are showing a message dedicate to him on their website. They intend to publish 72 to represent each of Schumacher's grand prix wins with them between 1996 and 2006, when he won five of his world titles.

"Michael, every day I follow your improvements and every day I am close to you," said former F1 great Niki Lauda in one.

"I hope I can speak to you very, very soon!".

The team are also paying tribute to Schumacher during the first set of pre-season Formula One tests in Jerez, Spain, this week, with #Forza Michael (Come on Michael), the hastag fans are using for messages of support via social media, written on the side of the race car. On January 8 investigators gave their first full account of the accident in the French Alps, denying reports he was speeding recklessly or that he was in the process of helping a little girl when he fell and cracked his head on a rock. "He deliberately chose to go into that zone," said Patrick Quincy from the Albertville prosecutor's office in France, which is investigating the accident on the Meribel slopes outside the driver's home there. Prosecutors spoke after reviewing footage from a camera in a helmet Schumacher was wearing. Doctors said he would have died had he not been wearing the helmet. "There are only two minutes of video, and you don't see Schumacher helping anyone," added Quincy. Albertville investigators said Schumacher, who also raced for the Jordan, Benetton and Mercedes teams, was skiing at an elevation of 2,700 metres, on a small off-piste area between a red and blue course. Schumacher's precise speed at the time of the accident has yet to be determined, but investigators stressed velocity is not an important factor in their probe.