'PLEASE LEAVE US ALONE: Michael Schumacher's wife Corinna arrives at hospital to ask the media to 'leave us in peace' on Jan 7 2014. Image: AFP
BERLIN, Germany - One of the
greatest sportsmen in history continues his fight for life. The fate of motor
racing legend Michael Schumacher has gripped the world for almost a year since
he fell while skiing.
Just as in previous years, he
wanted to spend a few days skiing to celebrate the new year and his birthday
with friends but a fall at the Meribel ski resort changed the life of Michael
Schumacher and those of his loved ones in the most dramatic fashion.
Even a year after the tragic
accident on December 29 2013 it remains unclear whether Schumacher will ever
recover enough to lead any semblance of a normal life. Schumacher's manager
Sabine Kehm said recently: "It is not possible to give any kind of
reliable prognosis… it simply isn't possible in this situation."
Schumacher hit his head on an
exposed rock when he fell and spent some days, his condition ‘critical’, in a
Grenoble hospital. Months in a medically induced coma followed.
The father of two's helmet broke
when he fell and the seriousness of Schumacher's condition only became
apparent the following day when he was examined at the University Clinic
Hospital in GrenobleThe expressions on the faces of
the doctors treating Schumacher spoke volumes. His condition was described as
"extremely critical" as the world learned that the seven-times
world champion had sustained multiple brain injuries. His fight for life
unleashed deep emotions worldwide; TV programming was frequently interrupted
The media circus that developed
around Schumacher's fight for life led his wife Corinna to issue a written
statement a week later asking for the driver's medical team and his family to be left in peace with the situation.
Schumacher was still fighting for
his life on January 3 2014 when he celebrated his 45th birthday; his
situation also cast a shadow over the start of tests for the new F1 season.
Fellow German and friend Sebastian Vettel said at the end of January that
year: "We are praying, wishing and
hoping that a miracle takes place; that he wakes up the same person he once
was.”Moe than 10 months later, on the
20th anniversary of Schumacher claiming his first F1 title, Vettel was on
hand to present the Millennium-Bambi award to Schumacher's wife in
recognition of the driver's excellent services and for inspiring his
PLEA FOR SOME PEACE
"It's my friendship with him
that makes me so happy and proud, but also so sad," Vettel said. "I
had so wished that we would be able to give you this award personally.
THREE YEARS WITH FERRARI
Schumacher's legion of fans are
still writing letters and posting “Get well” messages on Twitter and Facebook;
F1 is also still thinking of the man who enjoyed 91 race wins in a stellar career.
When Lewis Hamilton secured the
2014 Drivers' championship in Abu Dhabi in November Daimler boss Dieter
Zetsche remembered the German legend when looking back on a memorable season
for his team: "We should not forget the
contribution Michael made to this success."
Schumacher drove for Mercedes for
three years from 2010-13, offering his vast experience just as he did
previously for the Ferrari research team.
In a uniquely successful career, he
earned 68 pole starts on his way to seven F1 Drivers’ championships. He
suffered his worst racing accident in 1999: a broken leg at Silverstone. He
also suffered neck injuries in a motorcycle accident in Cartagena 10 years
later which prevented his replacing injured Ferrari
driver Felipe Massa.
It remains unclear whether
Schumacher will ever recover sufficiently to live a near-normal life, let
alone drive a racing car again. Only in June 2014 was it announced that he had
'DIFFICULT ROAD AHEAD'
Schumacher has continued his
rehabilitation at the family home on the shore of Lake Geneva but it has been
made clear that there will be no more comments about his condition. Manager Kehm said then: "He has a long and difficult
road in front of him."
She also confirmed
recently that almost all of Schumacher's sponsors remained loyal a year
after his fall. "Our concept was always to
work together personally on a partnership and friendship level," Kehm
"This togetherness is showing itself now."