Michael Schumacher, who sustained serious head injuries nearly six months ago in a skiing accident in France, is out of his coma and has been transferred from a hospital in France to a hospital near his home in Switzerland.
Schumacher, 45, the most accomplished driver in Formula One history, has been in a Grenoble hospital since his accident Dec. 29, 2013. He left the French hospital Monday morning.
Schumacher “is not in a coma anymore,” his manager, Sabine Kehm, said. Kehm gave no further details of Schumacher’s condition or medical outlook. But she added Schumacher will “continue his long phase of rehabilitation.”
Darcy Christen, a spokeswoman for Lausanne University Hospital, confirmed Schumacher was admitted. But she stressed the facility wants “to ensure that he and his family fully enjoy privacy and medical confidentiality.”
Schumacher’s accident happened on a family vacation. He was skiing with his 14-year-old son at the Meribel ski resort in the French Alps. He hit the right side of his head on a rock, cracking his helmet. Doctors operated to remove blood clots from his brain, but some were left because they were too deeply embedded.
Schumacher’s condition stabilized after he was placed in a drug-induced coma. In late January, doctors began the process of withdrawing sedatives to try to wake him up.
Over recent months, little information has been released on Schumacher’s condition. Monday’s announcement was the first substantial update since Kehm said in early April that Schumacher “shows moments of consciousness and awakening.”
“If he’s been released from the hospital he was in, it means he’s able to support his own breathing and bodily functions,” Dr. Tipu Aziz, a professor of neurosurgery at Oxford University’s John Radcliffe Hospital, told the Associated Press.
The fact that Schumacher is going into rehabilitation “suggests there’s been long-term side effects of his injury,” he added.
Schumacher, who retired in 2012, has 91 Formula One wins and seven world titles, both records.