Reports conflict over whether Schumacher is awakening from coma

Michael Schumacher, seen here during an August 2012 practice session, has now been in a medically induced coma for a month.

DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images

On the day that marked one month since Michael Schumacher suffered a severe head injury in a skiing accident, conflicting reports surfaced Wednesday on the champion driver’s condition, and whether is beginning to awake from a coma.

First, French sports daily L’Equipe reported that Schumacher’s condition had gone from "critical but stable" to "stable," and that this was a sign of the driver perhaps beginning to awaken from a medically induced coma. The paper also acknowledged, however, that the awakening process could take as long as "several years" and there is currently no way of knowing what condition Schumacher’s brain would be in should he awaken.

But later Wednesday, Schumacher’s manager Sabine Kehm dismissed the French report, telling BBC that the driver is still in the coma, and in "stable" condition.

Then Ferrari, the team for which Schumacher drove in 72 of his 91 career Formula One wins, released an online statement, saying it was "waiting" for the driver’s return.

 

"Dear Michael, having spent so many years at Ferrari, you became one of us. You thrilled us so often, bringing us great joy, but the greatest one is yet to come: namely seeing you here in Maranello again, to meet your second family, the Ferrari one. We are waiting for you."

 

The seven-time Formula One champion has been in the medically induced coma in Grenoble University Hospital in France since shortly after suffering a fall Dec. 29 while skiing in the French Alps. He has since undergone two brain surgeries and turned 45 years old, all the while fans holding vigil outside the hospital.

Earlier this month, multiple German papers reported that doctors fear the racing champion "could be in a coma forever."

The biggest concern for doctors when it comes to patients in forced comas is that oxygen to the brain is reduced in a coma, and the longer the patient remains in a comatose state, the more likely long-term effects such as brain and organ damage are sustained.