Michael Schumacher Is Awake, but Will He Ever Be the Same Again?

SchumacherAfter being kept in a coma for a month, Michael Schumacher is now awake, but will he ever be the same again? On December 29, the former Formula 1 world champion had a skiing accident in the French Alps, resulting in a severe head trauma. His manager, Sabine Kehm, now states that Schumacher’s sedation is being reduced in order to start the waking-up process. She confirms that Schumacher is currently responding to simple instructions.

On December 29 Schumacher smashed his head against a rock, causing the severe head trauma, but investigators have said there is no sign of excessive speed, faulty skis or inadequate signage. According to the prosecutor in charge of the investigation, Schumacher lost his balance and fell on to a rock further down. After the accident he was operated on twice by a neurosurgeon in Grenoble, France to remove blood clots and to reduce swelling of the brain. The swelling of the brain was the primary reason for increasing sedation and keeping Schumacher in a coma earlier this month. In addition, his body temperature was lowered to avoid further swelling.

Although he is responding to simple instructions, it is not certain how his recovery will proceed in the coming weeks and months. Doctors say that Schumacher will suffer from confusion and he will live through a period of lethargy. His recovery will  depend heavily on whether he has lingering trauma from the accident. Although his situation has been stable in the past weeks, doctors are realistic and are asking themselves the big question: “Once Michael Schumacher is awake, will he ever be the same again?”

According to doctors, recovering from a severe head trauma is different for everyone. It has caused many to die, while others have fully recovered and are able to pick up their lives as they lived them before.

Although Schumacher’s manager and doctors have not given any additional information regarding his outlook for the coming weeks, Road & Track’s Road Test Editor, Robin Warner, is certain that the circumstances of Schumacher’s accident improve his chances to fully recover. On February 7, 2013 Robin Warner fell from a 38 foot high bridge while performing a test for the magazine. Like Schumacher, Warner suffered from a head trauma and was kept in a coma to reduce swelling of his brain. Only 11 months later he has recovered and is following Schumacher’s story closely.

According to Warner, there are a number of things that may improve the chances of Schumacher recovering rather quickly. One of these is that he was skiing in cool, ambient conditions, which reduces cranial pressure. The fact that he was quickly found also helps as well, as does the fact that he was properly airlifted to the hospital. When Schumacher was brought to the hospital, doctors were quick to assess the problem and act upon it. Warner also mentions that a fit man like Schumacher will have the strength to get back in form with the help of doctors, family, friends and fans.

In the past month, fans from all over the world have shown their support to Schumacher. Now they are desperate to see Schumacher awake and to see if he will ever be the same again.

By Diana Herst

Car and Driver
The Sidney Morning Herald

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