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2014-12-27 12:01

'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 Grenoble


The 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 with updates.

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 countrymen.

"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.


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 regained consciousness


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 told DPA.

"This togetherness is showing itself now."

Read more on:    ferrari  |  coma  |  switzerland

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