NASCAR Cup Series
Kubica no longer in induced coma
NASCAR Cup Series

Kubica no longer in induced coma

Published Feb. 7, 2011 1:26 p.m. ET

Formula One driver Robert Kubica was brought out of an induced coma Monday and was reported to be in a stable condition after suffering serious injuries in a rally car crash.

However, the 26-year-old Polish driver will likely need further surgery to his elbow and shoulder, his Lotus Renault team said.

Kubica underwent seven hours of surgery Sunday after the high-speed crash in northern Italy. His right hand was badly damaged and surgeons averted the risk of amputation.

"Kubica is conscious. He talks and understands what has happened," said Dr. Giorgio Barabino, head of the intensive care unit at the Santa Corona hospital. "The first thing he thought about was his co-driver and was informed about his condition."


His manager, Daniel Morelli, said he spoke to the driver, who was "perfectly conscious" and whose "brain activity is normal," given the situation.

"In this moment, I feel extremely relieved compared to 24 hours ago," Morelli said. "The improvement that he has made, in my opinion, and in the opinion of the specialists, is of great significance, and this makes us hopeful for the future."

Kubica's Skoda Fabia went off the road and hit a wall when he was a few kilometers (miles) away from the start of the Ronde di Andora Rally. His co-driver, Jakub Gerber, was unhurt.

He was airlifted to the hospital, and a medical bulletin released Monday said the clinical situation was "of the utmost gravity" when Kubica arrived there. The bulletin said the abdominal and thoracic organs had been moderately compromised, while there was no evidence of significant brain alteration.

"Things are going well considering that there was substantial damage," Barabino said. "Kubica lost a lot of blood. That is why the first hour was critical."

Surgeon Igor Rossello said Kubica's right hand was warm Monday, which he said was a good sign. However, the surgeon said it would take five or six more days to see if the hand was healing properly.

Kubica spent the night in intensive care and was woken from the induced coma in the morning.

"The patient spent (the) night in good condition," Rossello told reporters outside of the hospital. "The condition has stabilized."

Rossello has estimated that it would take about a year for Kubica to recover functionality in his right hand.

The Lotus Renault team said Kubica's condition was "much better" and that he was able to speak to his relatives and move his fingers. The team said Rossello did not notice any swelling or infection on his right forearm, another positive sign.

"In order to avoid any physical stress, Robert will be put under gentle medication in order to sleep for the next 24 hours at least," the team said in a statement. "Meanwhile, the doctors will decide how they will treat his elbow and shoulder fractures. Robert may have to undergo surgery once again for this, but not for a few days."

Kubica is likely to miss most or all of the 2001 F1 season, which opens with Bahrain Grand Prix on March 13.


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