A leading doctor has made worrying claims about retired German racing driver Michael Schumacher, 51, saying he’s in a “vegetative state” and not responding to his family. Renowned neurosurgeon Erich Riederer made the claim in a new documentary that aired in France.
“I think he’s in a vegetative state, which means he’s awake but not responding,” he told French TV channel TMC. “He is breathing, his heart is beating, he can probably sit up and take baby steps with help, but no more.
“I think that’s the maximum for him. Is there any chance of seeing him like he was before his accident? I really don’t think so.”
Michael suffered a near-fatal brain injury in 2013 after a serious ski accident. The Formula One driver has not been seen in public the accident but was placed in a medically induced coma for six months after suffering a serious brain injury. Since then, information about the athlete’s health has not been known and his family rarely issue updates or statements about his condition.
The rare health update comes a year after Michael’s family took to his official Facebook page on his 50th birthday with a special message for fans.
“We are very happy to celebrate Michael’s 50th birthday tomorrow together with you and thank you from the bottom of our hearts that we can do this together,” the message read. “You can be sure that he is in the very best of hands and that we are doing everything humanly possible to help him.”
It also explained why so little information about Michael’s condition has been made available.
“Please understand if we are following Michael’s wishes and keeping such a sensitive subject as health, as it has always been, in privacy,” the statement continued. “At the same time, we say thank you very much for your friendship and wish you a healthy and happy year 2019.”
At the time, fans were quick to send their well-wishes to the star. One person on Facebook said: “My best wishes to Michael, my supreme example! The love and admiration I feel towards you will never fade!!! I hope the nightmare of the last five years may one day end. Keep Fighting Michael Schumacher.”
Another comment read: “Congratulations and all the best to birthday. We wish you and your family a lot of strength.” A third simply added: “Always wishing the best for Michael.”