KEEP FIGHTING MICHAEL: Nico Rosberg shows his support for injured former Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher (inset) with a message on his F1 car. Image: AP / Luca Bruno
PARIS, France - A physician who treated Michael Schumacher for nearly six months after the Formula 1 champion struck his head in a skiing fall says the injured ex-driver is no longer in a coma and predicted a possible recovery within three years.
Jean-Francois Payen, a doctor at the Grenoble hospital that treated Schumacher after his injury in December 2013, said he has visited the Schumacher family at home in Switzerland to track his patient's progress.
Schumacher was with his 14-year-old son in the French Alps when he fell, hitting the side of his head on a rock and cracking his helmet.
'HAVE TO GIVE HIM TIME'
Payen told RTL radio on Thursday (Oct 23): "Life after a head injury is punctuated by stages. We hope, but we have to give him time."
He predicted a convalescence of one to three years.
Earlier in October 2014 French F1 commentator Jean-Louis Moncet repeated a report that Schumacher was "waking up very slowly" from the induced coma controlling his serious brain injuries. Moncet said: "I saw his son and he told me Schumi was waking up very slowly, very slowly."
Payen commented: "It is to see how he progresses and then tell his wife and his children what changes I have observed. He is in very favourable conditions. His wife is surrounded by excellent advice and has put everything needed in place so that he can advance."
SUPPORT FROM CORINNA
Payen said that Corinna Schumacher had played a key role in her husband's progress: "It is someone very linked to Michael, but who has a lucidity and a desire to make him advance which is an extraordinary point."
He added that "for years she will do this same work. She is a very good person."
In September 2014 Schumacher left a rehabilitation clinic in Switzerland and returned home to his estate on the edge of Lake Geneva.
LATEST ON BIANCHI
Injured Marrusia driver Jules Bianchi remains "critical" since his horror crash during the 2014 Japanese GP on October 5 2014.
Luciano Burti, a former Formula 1 driver and full-time pundit for Brazil's Globo, told Sao Paulo radio Jovem Pan: "Talking with people who know his situation better, the chance of recovery is very small. If he survives, it seems his chances of living without consequences are also very small."
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