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Michael Schumacher in ‘coma’, critical after ski accident

Paris, Dec 30 (): Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher is in coma and is said to be in critical condition after getting an injury in his head in a skiing accident in the French Alps on Sunday, doctors said. He underwent a brain surgery too.

Schumacher had been skiing off-piste in the upmarket Meribel resort, when he fell down and struck his head on a rock, the mountain police officers who gave him first aid said.

Resort managers said he had been wearing a helmet and was conscious when rescuers first reached the spot. At first it was suggested he had not received any life-threatening injuries. But, when Schumacher fell into coma, doctors realised the damage was worse than initially feared. First, he was flown to a local hospital, then to the Grenoble facility.

The hospital in the southeast French city of Grenoble said in a statement that the 44-year-old German was “suffering a serious brain trauma with coma on his arrival, which needed an immediate neurosurgical operation”. A specialist neurosurgeon from Paris has rushed to Grenoble to monitor his treatment.

Schumacher’s 14-year-old son was skiing with his father when the accident happened, the resort said.

Schumacher was born in January 1969 near Cologne, Germany. He is the son of a bricklayer. By 1987, Schumacher was the German and European go-kart champion and was soon racing professionally. In 1991, he burst into Formula One by qualifying seventh in his debut race in Belgium and a year later he was racing for Benetton, where he won his first Formula One Grand Prix in 1992.

After joining Ferrari in 1996, Schumacher became famous by trying to ram Villeneuve off the road at Jerez in the last race of 1997, and was disqualified from the championship as punishment. Over the next decade, he ruled the podium, before trying to retire the first time aged 37. But he could not resist the attraction of the track and in 2010 he signed a three-year deal with Mercedes.

Schumacher, who celebrates his 45th birthday on Jan 3, is the most successful Formula One driver of all time with a record 91 victories among his achievements. He won his titles with Benetton and Ferrari.

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