Despite a wealth of – largely unhelpful and grossly inaccurate – speculation, little has changed with respect to Michael Schumacher’s condition, some 24 hours after the seven-time Formula 1 World Champion suffered his skiing accident in the French Alps on Sunday.
His treating surgeons at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Grenoble held their first media conference at 10:00AM local time yesterday, confirming that the German underwent emergency neurosurgery and that his prognosis would not be known for some time.
Upon his arrival at the hospital, scans showed swelling in Schumacher’s brain and a haemmorrhage. That triggered the need for the operation to relieve the fluid pressure inside the skull.
While the procedure is itself relatively common for head injuries, it is not without significant risk, although the surgeons reported that the procedure went smoothly and there is little likelihood that he will require a repeat operation.
Post-surgery, Schumacher has been kept in an induced coma where a type of hypothermia will be induced, cooling his body temperature and reducing bloodflow through the brain to further minimise swelling.
“Everything that needed to be done has been done and is being done. At the moment we can’t really say what is going to happen, and when he will recover. We cannot answer this yet,” Professor Jean-Francois Payen told the assembled reporters during the press conference.
The surgeons confirmed that, despite the head injury taking place on the right side of Schumacher’s skull, lesions were found on both sides of the brain, indicating “the shock must have taken place at high speed”.
That he even survived the fall, the surgeons added, was itself purely down to the fact that he was wearing a helmet at the time of his fall.
The surgeons will provide a further update to the media “as soon as we feel it will be useful”.
Schumacher’s family – his wife Corinna, and children Mick and Gina-Maria – remain by his bedside.