Pope writes to Zanardi, hails his example

Francis says he is praying for paralympic champion after crash

(ANSA) - ROME, JUN 24 - Pope Francis has written a letter to Alex Zanardi, who is currently in a medically induced coma in a Siena hospital after a road accident on his handbike on Friday.
    The four-time paralympic champion and former Formula One driver suffered serious head injuries in a collision with a lorry.
    The 53-year-old is highly popular and hugely respected for the way he reinvented himself after having both legs amputated following a motor-racing accident in 2001.
    "Dear Alessandro, your story is an example of how to be able to start again after a sudden stop," read the handwritten letter published by La Gazzetta dello Sport.
    "You taught how to live life as a protagonist though sport, making disability a lesson of humanity.
    "Thank you for giving strength to those who had lost it.
    "I am close to you at this delicate moment. I pray for you and your family".
    The Siena hospital said Wednesday that Zanardi's condition remains stable and, after consulting his family, it has decided to stop giving daily updates on his state of health.
    "We went through the emotional stage, but now the rational phase is needed," said Health Director Roberto Gusinu.
    "This is a COVID hospital and we must protect it," he added, regarding the large numbers of journalists and TV crews in an area where patients and health personal also pass. (ANSA).


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