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Michael Schumacher showing 'small encouraging signals'

Comatose Ferrari legend still in for 'long, difficult struggle'

12 March, 10:57
Michael Schumacher showing 'small encouraging signals' (ANSA) - Aosta, March 12 - Michael Schumacher is showing "small encouraging signals", the Formula 1 racing great's manager said Wednesday, after more than two months in a coma following a ski accident in the French Alps. "We remain hopeful that Michael will wake up. Every once in a while there are small encouraging signals. It's always been clear this struggle would be long and difficult," said a statement from Sabine Kehm.

The Ferrari great suffered a severe head injury after skiing off piste on 29 December and has been in a medically induced coma ever since. Last week doctors at a Grenoble hospital said his condition has not changed, and that they were still working to bring the seven-time champion, 45, back to consciousness.

On January 30 doctors started gradually bringing Schumacher out of the coma.

His family have repeatedly asked for his privacy and medical confidentially to be respected after false reports he was getting better.

The driver's family made their first appeal 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 dedicated to him on their website.

They will publish 72 in all to represent each of Schumacher's grand prix wins with them between 1996 and 2006, when he won five of his world titles.

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.

Prosecutors spoke after reviewing footage from a camera in a helmet Schumacher was wearing. Doctors said he would have died without it.

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.