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Michael Schumacher
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/D. Azubel

Silence surrounds Schumacher on accident anniversay

Jefferson Chase
December 28, 2014

On December 29, 2013, a serious fall on a ski slope left record Formula One champion Michael Schumacher in a coma. One year on, Schumi is back at home but news about his condition is scarce.


Fans who went to the legendary driver's website hoping for an update on his condition on the first anniversary of his near fatal ski crash were disappointed.

Nor did his manager Sabine Kehm issue a statement. Her last update came in a TV interview on November 23 when she said that Schumacher was making progress but that it was "not possible" to make a "reliable prognosis" of his prospects.

This silence has been very much in keeping with Schumacher family policy after he fell and hit his head on a rock at the Meribel resort in the French Alps late last year. Schumacher was brought to a clinic in Grenoble, Switzerland where he underwent a series of operations and was put in an artificial coma. On January 7 his wife, Corinna, appealed to the media to leave the family and Schumacher's doctors in peace.

Since then there have been only dribs and drabs of information. On January 30, Kehm stated that Schumacher would be "slowly" awakened from his artificial coma. But on April 4, she said Schumi only showed "moments" of consciousness, and it wasn't until June that doctors confirmed that the man who once dominated Formula One was no longer in a coma.

No pictures have ever been issued of Schumacher, who now resides at home in Gland near Geneva. And that has fuelled speculations that in Schumi's case no news is unfortunately bad news.

Impressions and opinions

Michael Schumacher Skiunfall Unfallort Piste
This accident occurred at the Meribel resort in the French AlpsImage: Getty Images

Former racing driver Philippe Streiff has given an update of Schumacher's health to French newspaper "Le Parisien."

According to Streiff, Schumacher is starting to recognize people around him and is working on sitting upright. The former French driver himself was paralyzed in a pre-season test drive in 1989.

But Kehm said Streiff was not a close friend of Schumacher and that his claims to have had contact with Michael's wife Corinna and Schumacher's doctor Gerard Saillant were "factually wrong."

But statements like that are hardly the stuff to quell suppositions about Schumacher's true state of health.

Most sponsors stick with Schumi

Screenshot der Website von Michael Schumacher
Schumacher's homepage is back online - but without any health updatesImage: http://www.michael-schumacher.de/

If Schumacher fails to recover from his head injuries, it will make him a tragic hero on the order of Ayrton Senna, the Brazilian Formula One champion who died in a racing accident in 1994 - with the cruel irony being that Schumacher sustained his injury pursuing a hobby and not on the track.

It has been a grim year for the racing community with French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi having suffered an accident in October that also left him in a coma.

Social media are full of fans wishing Schumacher well, and the majority of his sponsors have remained on board.

"Our concept was also to build personal relationships as friends and partners," Kehm said. "And that is paying off now."

"It goes without saying that you stick together in the bad times as well," said Robert Peil, the CEO of one of Schumacher's main partners, the DVAG financial consulting company.

But with Kehm having repeatedly stressed that the Formula legend has "a long way to go," fans' patience and sponsors' solidarity are sure to be tested some more in 2015.

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