Doctors treating Michael Schumacher have begun the process of gradually waking the former Formula One driver from a month-long medically induced coma, his manager and press agent confirmed on Thursday.
Doctors have begun lowering the dosage of the drugs that have kept Schumacher in a coma since he suffered a severe head injury in a skiing accident in the French Alps on December 29.
"Michael's sedation is being reduced in order to allow the start of the waking-up process, which may take a long time,'' manager Sabine Kehm said in a statement.
French sports daily L’Equipe, quoting a source at the hospital in Grenoble where Schumacher is being treated, reported Wednesday that the seven-time F1 world champion had been placed in a “phase of progressive awakening”.
L’Equipe said Schumacher had so far “reacted positively” to the process.
Professor Jean-Luc Truelle, a former chief of neurology at the Foch Hospital near Paris, told the newspaper that the procedure to wake Schumacher should see his level of sedation gradually reduced until the 45-year-old is able to open his eyes.
When Schumacher awakens his communication skills will be tested by asking him to perform a series of simple tasks such as opening and closing his eyes and shaking hands.
After his fall at the Meribel ski resort, in which Schumacher hit his head on a rock with an impact severe enough to split his helmet in two, surgeons at Grenoble University Hospital found “widespread lesions” on both sides of his brain and operated on him twice.
They decided to keep him in a coma to reduce the risk of further brain damage.
Doctors have not offered any new updates since January 17, when they described Schumacher’s condition as stable.
At the time Kehm, who also acts as Schumacher’s spokesperson, warned that “any information regarding Michael's health not coming from the doctors treating him or from his management must be treated as pure speculation”.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2014-01-29