The Schumacher family has achieved another major milestone in Michael Schumacher’s lengthy rehabilitation, announcing that the seven-time Formula 1 World Champion has left hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland, and will commence the next stage of his recovery at home.
The German’s manager, Sabin Kehm, confirmed the news via a media release but added in no uncertain terms that he had a “long and difficult road ahead”.
“Considering the severe injuries he suffered, progress has been made in the past weeks and months,” the statement reads. “We would like to extend our gratitude to the entire team at CHUV Lausanne [university hospital of Lausanne] for their thorough and competent work.
“We ask the privacy of Michael’s family continue to be respected, and that speculation about his state of health is avoided.”
Schumacher suffered critical head injuries in a freak skiing accident while holidaying with his family in the French Alps in December. He was rushed to hospital and underwent two rounds of surgery to remove blood clots and swelling in his brain, and was kept in a medically induced coma.
In April, it was confirmed that his sedation had been eased and he was showing “moments of consciousness”.
In June, he was transferred in a top-secret operation from his treating Grenoble hospital in June and moved to a specialist rehabilitation centre in Switzerland, closer to the Schumacher home on the shores of Lake Geneva. His team confirmed he was “not in a coma anymore” but did not elaborate on what his actual condition or progress had been.
Schumacher’s wife, Corinna, who has been by his side almost 24/7 since his accident, wrote to fans in an open letter in the official programme for July’s German Grand Prix that “it is good to know that we have overcome the most difficult period together. Now we are at the beginning of a phase that will most likely take a long time”.
Again, the latest update gives no specific details of what progress Schumacher has made, although his discharge from hospital to the privacy of his own home would undoubtedly be great news for his immediate family. The statement did, however, dismiss suggestions that the family’s expansive house had undergone modifications for his return home.
That being said, it hasn’t stopped the wild speculation, with the tabloid press having driven much of the most distasteful elements. Shortly after his arrival to his first treating hospital in Grenoble in France, a journalist tried to gain access to his ward by disguising himself as a priest.
Following his transfer to Lausanne, it emerged that pages of Schumacher’s medical file had been stolen and was offered for sale to the German press – the Schumacher family threatened a gigantic lawsuit against anyone who dared purchase and publish the file, and thankfully its contents have remained secure.
An executive working for the Swiss helicopter air rescue company which transferred Schumacher to Lausanne was subsequently arrested on suspicion of the theft and attempted sale of the pages, and was later found to have committed suicide in his cell in Zurich while on remand.
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