Speculation on Michael Schumacher’s prognosis for recovery from his serious head injuries is rampant in Germany, with one publication reporting that the multiple Formula 1 champion could be in a coma for the rest of his life.
The Daily Mail is reporting that German outlets Focus and Bild have spoken with neurological experts, who have discussed their views based on reports of Schumacher’s condition.
The 45-year-old has been in a medically induced coma at a hospital in Grenoble since an accident on a ski field in the French Alps on December 29 last year.
The latest official report on his condition being “critical but stable”, Schumacher’s management team adamant they will release no more updates unless there is a change in his condition.
Schumacher’s wife Corinna also pleaded with media to back off from their relentless hounding for updates and leave the hospital, where they had been gathered since news of Schumacher’s accident broke.
“Please support our shared fight with Michael,” she said in a statement.
“It is important to me that you take the pressure off the doctors and the hospital so they can do their work.
“Please have faith in their statements and leave the hospital. Please also leave our family in peace.”
But according to the Daily Mail, the silence on Schumacher’s condition has led to anxiety in his native Germany, as publications turn to non-official sources to gain an insight into the potential – or otherwise – of Schumacher making a full recovery.
German publication Focus spoke to neurosurgeon Andreas Zieger of the University Clinic for neurosurgery in Oldenburg, a man not part of Schumacher’s medical team.
Professor Zieger speculated that, given the time Schumacher has been kept in an induced coma, “there may have been complications.”
“We should not speculate here. Ultimately, we are talking about life and death. A coma can in theory be maintained for a lifetime. It won’t hurt the human brain.”
Professor Zieger added: “Brain injuries are among the most complicated injuries that can happen to the human body.
“Predictions about how long a person might be in a coma or potential complications are seldom reliable.”
Another news outlet interviewed Cologne neurological expert Professor Gereon Fink, who fears that the length of Schumacher’s coma, now reaching its 18th day, indicates serious damage in the brain..
“He assumes that Michael Schumacher’s health condition is apparently worse than hoped for,” the site reported.
“If the injuries are so severe that it would harm the patient, he is kept longer in the medically induced coma,” Professor Fink said.
“Depending on where bleeding has taken place can lead to unilateral paralysis, speech disorders or personality changes.”