Formula 1

Michael Schumacher could make recovery, says doctor

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Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher could recover from his brain injuries within one-to-three years according to his doctor.

The German suffered severe head injuries after a skiing accident late last year and in the 10 months since has made a start to what will be a long road to recovery.

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Dr Jean-Francois Payen, giving his first public comments since treating Schumacher, confirmed he is now out of a coma while reiterating it will take time before any kind of return to normality can occur.

"I have seen some progress but I would say give him time. It's like other patients, we are in a timescale that ranges from one year to three years, so it takes patience," he was quoted by the Telegraph newspaper.

"Life after a brain injury is littered with stages."

"It must progress, we hope, but we must give him time."

Back home

Schumacher returned to his home in Switzerland earlier this year after receiving his initial treatment at Grenoble University Hospital, where Dr Payen is the head of the Anaesthesiology, to continue his recovery in a room speciality fitted with all the necessary equipment.

Speaking about Schumacher's initial recovery, Dr Payen said the care he received upon arrival was crucial to his survival as the seven-time F1 champion was in critical condition and also described his respect for Michael's wife Corinna and the rest of the family during those first months.

"Immediately she understood the seriousness of the situation and the long journey that lay before them," he said. "She sees things very clearly and will do anything and give everything to improve the condition of her husband."

He also revealed what he described as "extraordinary willpower" from Mrs. Schumacher when dealing with the gravity of what had occurred.

Media pitfalls

Finally Dr Payen spoke about his own experience dealing with a patient with an international following as Michael Schumacher has and the pitfalls that came with it.

"Nobody is willing to undergo such a flood of media [attention]," he told Le Parisien.

"We quickly got organised by creating a sort of 'medical bubble' to protect us from the outside world, from the media pressure, in order to work properly."

Indeed during those initial months several incidents were reported as a journalist was believed to have impersonated a priest and was able to get to Schumacher's bedside while some of the 46-year-old's medical files were also later stolen.

Dr Payen described how he and the rest of the medical staff had to use an enclosed car park to get in and out of the facility and were not allowed mobile phones.

Schumacher the great

Of course the kind of attention from the world's media was to be expected, after all we are talking one about one of the most decorated sportsmen in history.

With seven world titles and 91 wins to his name, Schumacher stands above as one of the great racing drivers of all time.

While he may have had a few controversies during his career, he also remained one of only a handful of sportsmen not to have been weighed down by scandal or off-track mishaps.

He was a true sportsman who did whatever he had to to succeed and in today's world it is that ruthlessness that is often lacking with many drivers.

Bianchi hope

The news from Dr Payen about Schumacher possibly making a near full recovery in the next few years offers hope too as the motor sport world continues to pray for Jules Bianchi.

He remains in a critical but stable condition in a hospital in Suzuka after he suffered a diffuse axonal brain injury when his Marussia hit the back of a recovery tractor at the Japanese Grand Prix nearly three weeks ago.

It has been described as a miracle that the Frenchman has survived what some have measured as a 90G impact in Japan and given Bianchi was many people's tip to go and become the next big star since Schumacher at Ferrari, lets hope that both men can be seen in an F1 paddock sometime in the future.

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