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Michael Schumacher breathing by himself: Todt speaking to him in English
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Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Mar 2014   |  1:28 pm GMT  |  124 comments

Although Michael Schumacher’s manager Sabine Kehm issued a statement on Friday saying simply that “Michael is still in the wake-up phrase. The situation has not changed,” the Gazzetta dello Sport’s Pino Allievi has written that the German is now breathing by himself without a respirator and doctors believe that he is hearing the voices of his friends, among them FIA president Jean Todt and Ross Brawn. Todt is apparently speaking to his friend in English, as he did in their successful Ferrari days.

Schumacher remains in a coma nine weeks after the skiing accident which gave him a severe head injury requiring two operations to open his skull to relieve the pressure of his brain swelling.

There has been little news for three weeks, since it was announced that doctors in the hospital in Grenoble to which he was taken on December 30th, were trying to wake him.

Kehm has kept a tight lid on information and has said on several occasions, “Any medical information published which is not confirmed by the team of doctors treating Michael or his management has to be considered as not valid.”

But, while respecting this and being cautious, this intervention in Italy is worth noting.


But today, Allievi, Italy’s most influential and best connected F1 journalist has written some details of Schumacher’s treatment and condition, the main one being that he is breathing unaided.

Todt and Brawn have stayed very close to the situation and to the family. Todt in particular is in constant contact even when not at the hospital. His close friend Prof Gerard Saillant is overseeing the care of the seven times world champion and reports to him several times a day. This I know from personal experience having visited Todt for an interview for the Financial Times last week. He also told me that “You will write another book on Michael. And I will write the Foreword,” referring to the 1997 and 2007 books I wrote about Schumacher.


Allievi does not reveal the source of his information in the article, but it is sound, and has details of movements Schumacher has made; occasional twitches of an arm, a hand, a finger. His wife Corinna is by his side constantly. Brawn apparently plays recordings of pit to car radio from their times racing together, “because Michael needs to string together the threads of his life, voices and sounds.”

None of this means that he will recover. No-one knows when- or even if – Schumacher will wake up. And if he does whether he will have any quality of life at all.

But all those around him are doing everything they can and above all are continuing to hope.

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124 Comments
  1. Ste says:

    So we can take this with more than a pinch of salt now, James? Thanks for the article.

    1. J.Danek says:

      I would appreciate an authoritative voice reconciling:

      1) the fans’ obvious desperation for current news of Michael’s progress (and their obvious preference for good news, and seeming joy at the most basic bit of not-bad-news);

      2) the same fans’ scolding of press who published unofficially-sourced bad news, previously

      3) the same fans’ willingness to warmly receive unofficially-sourced good news, and not mention at all their supposed loyalty to Michael’s family and how newsleaks supposedly were hurting them

      4) Kehm’s brutal and cynical control of “official” release of information on michael and her massive contempt for the desires of millions of fans

      MUCH respect for James Allen, who is obviously walking a tightrope by publishing summaries and links to or scans/screenshots of unofficially-sourced news on Michael if he also wants/hopes to write any “official” books on MS in the future (or have collaboration of MS’s family and Todt, for example)…but w.t.heck?

      Someone PLEASE reconcile this for me, especially given how rude fans were to Dr. Hartstein in response to his good-faith commentary and general insights?!

  2. janis1207 says:

    If there is a silver lining in this tragedy, it is the commitment of Schumi’s friends to him.
    Bravo, Jean Todt and Ross Brawn!

    1. Tristian Trigg says:

      Yes, I agree. And although Michael the man was often maligned for perceived flaws in his sportsmanship, it is worth noting that people who elicit this kind of loyalty and dedication from their friends, do so because they have very special qualities as a person.

      1. David says:

        Well-said, thank you.

      2. kenneth chapman says:

        @ tristantrigg. i would like to propose a rather different assessment by looking at your post and making a comment. you state ‘michael the man was etc etc etc’. i would say rather than ‘michael the man’ ‘michael the driver’ as it is for this skill that he has carved out his reputation. following on from that you say that he was ‘often maligned’ which indicates an unfair criticism for his ‘perceived’ flaws in sportsmanship!

        well he was ‘criticised’ for cheating & dangerous driving amongst other unsportsmanlike activities. the criticism levelled at shumacher was mild considering what damage he could have done with his
        mental approach to racing. if he was racing today and did those kind of things he would be absolutely banned. time does not diminish the actions of a cheat.

        yes, he was a superb driver at times, that is not a point of contention and i think that most people would like to see him survive intact from his current dilemma. what amazes me is the misplaced adulation of some people who are prepared to brush his racing character under the carpet and pretend that he didn’t drive in a dangerous manner with complete disregard for his fellow drivers

        i certainly hope that ‘shumacher the man’ survives his current trauma.

      3. Kramgp says:

        You cannot separate Michael the man from Michael the racer. You have to take any person as a whole and their greatest weeknesses and flaws are sometimes what gives them their greatest strengths. Michaels desire to win at all costs are what made him world champion. I was not a Dan of michaels and I watched f1 longing for someone to beat him but the fact was he was better than everyone else. Senna was criticized for being too aggressive and a cheat but few would argue about how good he was.
        Can you honestly say you have never taken a risk while driving. Speeding or running a light. Are you not endangering lives, but its different because your not on tv, and you do it just so your not late for work

      4. kenneth chapman says:

        @kramgp….. without going too deep with a difference of opinion let me just say this. in all my years of driving i have never ever driven into the side of anyone when they tried to pass me, i have never ever driven another driver off the road intentionally plus many other like misdemeanours that i could go on with almost ad infinitum.

        shumacher ‘the driver’ and i presume shumacher ‘the man’ are altogether different beasts. to my knowledge he never drove on public roads like he did on the race track…..but then again i may well be wrong.rose tinted glasses never prove a point. time to move on.

  3. gearbox says:

    I was fortunate to meet Michael at the Silverstone test prior to the GP in 1999 (before he broke his leg) and he was very nice, made time to say hello. A formidable competitor in the greatest challenge of his life. If anyone can do make it back from this, he can…

  4. Paul says:

    Well, I would have thought that following the official press release this morning, you would have researched this story a little to confirm the detail, rather than just repeat some other journalists story without any proof. We would all like to see good news in the media, but raising false hope based on hearsay is not the way. I shall wait until Sabine Kehm issues this positive information before I believe what I read. Please James, lower your standards to guesswork.

    1. James Allen says:

      Sabine is keeping a lid on news, as is her right.

      Pino has not written this for no reason and without good sourcing

      I’ve added lots of caveats in the piece saying that we should be careful with this, but it’s worth noting.

      1. Mack says:

        James,
        I read your article carefully and believe the caveats were clearly noted. Thankyou for the article. I appreciate the information on Schumi and hope you can continue to provide the information when it is available. Get well Michael so we can all have another book to read!

      2. KARTRACE says:

        Thank you for this update, we need it.

      3. The press here in Australia are reporting that the doctors have now confirmed to the Shumacher family that he is likely to remain in a permanent vegetative state and unlikely to recover. Is that just our press being sensationalist or is there some truth to this story?

    2. Random 79 says:

      You’d rather hear nothing at all?

      Micheal’s family and doctors are releasing information as they see fit which is their right, but here is a bit of news which might give some a bit of hope. Sure it’s not 100% solid, but how was James supposed to research it more thoroughly?

      Should he be like one of those journalists I’m sure are lurking in the hospital corridors, hoping to catch Corinna, Todt, or one of the doctors off guard? Maybe kidnap one of them until they agree to tell him everything they know?

      When James is sure of something he’ll let us know, but more importantly even if he chooses to share with us something that he’s not sure of it’s clear that he’ll make a point of saying that he isn’t sure of it.

      Just ease up a bit Paul.

    3. Davexxx says:

      I think James is (and has been) reasonable in this matter. He hasn’t written insignificant articles every other day like many other sites, but only reports when it’s something significant, and there ARE a lot of people out there eager to have SOME news to keep their hopes up. Sabine wants to prevent false hopes which I can fully understand. But I trust James’ ‘connections’ and sources. To be honest I fear a less than perfect final outcome, but who knows?
      It’s nice to have some kind of ‘update’.

      1. James Allen says:

        That is the spirit in which the post was intended

      2. David says:

        I thank you for it; to be honest, yours is one of the few sites I go to anymore for updates on this terrible event.

      3. Michael says:

        James, I think you’re a wonderful journalist, I love your work, yours is the first F1 site I come to for new information. Your books on Schumacher, particularly the first were incredible.

        However this article simply isn’t needed.

        Think about whether Schumacher’s family would want you to write this. They have asked for privacy, for no one to speculate and certainly for no information to be released.

        No matter how credible your source is this article isn’t in the spirit of anything other than going against the family’s wishes.

        Indeed if your source is 100% reliable it almost makes this worse.

        Why don’t you just let the Schumacher media releases do the talking. I find this a little bit sad to be honest.

      4. Tyemz says:

        @Michael, I appreciate your concerns for the Schumacher family but even they knew the enormity of the task they were trying to achieve by releasing information in bits and pieces, try as they might to regulate the flow of information, there was always that one chance of one journalist trying to dig deeper than the others, reading a lot of meaning into the whole silence game, body language etc and the reverse being achieved. James has had to balance the risk of false hopes being raised with the possibility that for the first time in about 8 weeks, fans like my friend from Montreal really have something to smile about. And the article comes with comes with lots of caveats too. would be nice to take note of that.
        Meanwhile, as James puts it, we will continue to hope.

      5. timothy clarke says:

        i applaud you for it James. the thing i like most about you and your writing is that it shows so much, that first and foremost, you’re a fan! i don’t think anyone could seriously question your journalistic integrity or your sensitivity regard this issue, so, from one fan to another, thank you.

      6. kenneth chapman says:

        until such time as the medicos/shumacher managment et al take the public into their confidence there will be an endless flow of speculation.

        i find it hard to believe that there isn’t any more informed comment at hand, that would go a long way to satiating the endless quest for up to date news.

        as time goes by they will have to provide some more details so why not simply give the press/fans/followers and friends some more information on a more regular basis.

        this constant demand to ‘respect their privacy’ seems like nothing than an attempt to stage manage the situation. by all means stop any intrusive attempts to infiltrate the premises etc etc etc. but they should be responding to the call for some realistic medical assessments.

    4. Joe S says:

      That’s harsh, Paul. I understand that if it doesn’t come from his management then it may be hard to fully believe, but I’m taking this as fact because it’s from James. James does say that the Italian journalist is very well connected within F1 and so he could definitely get news. James would not post a story like this if he did not have good reasoning.

      If Sabine Kehm started telling us all things like that every day, then the hospital would be swamped with reporters like it was in late December and early January. By doing infrequent, muted statements, it keeps people away. It’s frustrating for us outsiders but it’s in the best interest of those at the hospital that they keep things quiet.

    5. Allan says:

      I think it is clear to someone with any amount of reading comprehension that James is not presenting this as fact, but rather as unofficial information from sources James has found to be very credible in the past. The article is valid and balanced.

    6. Brent says:

      Cheap shot Paul.
      It ‘s my opinion that Schumacher is property of the world to some extent. Many of us have spent a lot of time with Michael over the years even if it was on a TV screen. We have seen him at his greatest and his lowest. We know his ruthlessness on track and his huge heart off the track. For a quarter of my life Michael Schumacher has graced my living room for 15 to 20 weekends a year.
      There should be a distance kept during this time of tragedy for the family but at the same time there is a degree of obligation, for the family, to keep the fans informed, even if there is nothing new to report. I’m finding the family a little too closed about his situation; 3 weeks is a long time, with no news, for the millions of people pulling for him.

  5. Kam says:

    Come on Schuey; keep pushing!

  6. Step says:

    Best wishes MS!

  7. Veena says:

    At last James, some hopeful news. Thanks for that. MS will come back and our prayers will be answered.

  8. The Michelin Man says:

    God bless you Michael!

  9. Dutch Johnny says:

    great news james!

    Lets hope that schumi will pull through, would be great new if he did. He still has a long way to go though… but this gives me hope.

  10. Bru72 says:

    Brilliant news. Keep fighting Schumi.
    Love the fact Ross is playing pit to car radio messages!

  11. Namey says:

    Yeah… no.

    ——
    Michael Schumacher’s long-time manager, Sabine Kehm, has issued the first official statement in just over three weeks to confirm that the seven-time Formula 1 World Champion’s condition remains unchanged.

    The team of doctors at Grenoble’s University Hospital are continuing in their attempts to gradually bring the German out of a medically-induced coma after his skiing accident in the French Alps at the end of last year.

    “Michael is still in the wake up phase. The situation has not changed,” read Kehm’s statement on Friday.

    She reiterated that unofficial reports should be ignored: “Any medical information published which is not confirmed by the team of doctors treating Michael or his management has to be considered as not valid.”
    ——

    1. Gareth D says:

      +1

      As James quoted Sebine, if it hasn’t been confirmed by the doctors then it shouldn’t be considered valid.

      The very fact that this has been published is aggravating to say the least. We all hope that Michael survives and hopefully recovers, but republishing an article, no matter what the reputation of the journalist, is disrespectful to Michael and his family given that they have asked time and time again to not take any notice of any unconfirmed reports, such as this one. For shame.

      1. Baghetti says:

        +1

    2. grat says:

      I’m somewhat mystified by the approach Schumacher’s manager is taking.

      Certainly, his family deserves their privacy, and nothing should change that, but an occasional update would seem to be in order.

      I realize that Schumacher’s family is trying to keep expectations low (because nothing else makes sense), but if he’s off the respirator and breathing on his own, that’s very promising news, and worth sharing.

      It’s also worth noting that nothing in the “official” press release contradicts anything in this article.

    3. Anil Parmar says:

      Sabine is doing her job, playing the PR game. If James believe that this source in Italy is in fact reputable, then I believe him. Why? Because James has far too much respect for Michael and the F1 community to make a blog post regarding rumours and speculation.

  12. Michael V says:

    This is very promising.
    You’re in our thoughts and prayers, Schumi. Wishing you a steadfast recovery.

  13. P.Relli says:

    Euronews report that his management are downplaying this story, and that MS is still in “the wake up stage”.

    1. Davexxx says:

      I’m no expert whatsoever, but, presumably the ‘breathing solo’ is simply part of the ‘wake-up stage’ anyway. Sabine is simply thinking that ‘anything could still happen’, something could go backwards, ventilation could still be required… This is a hopeful event but it’s still early days.

  14. Joseph Simmons says:

    This appears to be very positive news! Keep fighting Michael in struggle to recover. As mentioned, your journey to recovery is long and challenging, but you have the support of a legend of fans.

  15. alexbookoo says:

    Gazzetta dello Sport’s photo editor decided to use a picture of Michael walking down a tunnel towards the light. Oouf.

  16. Philip Pegler says:

    Mr. Allen is doing nothing more than re-stating what has been said by those genuinely close to Michael Schumacher. As a respected journalist and human being, Mr. Allen is simply not going to speculate or fabricate on hearsay. I, for one, am most grateful for any news of Mr. Schumacher’s progress. This does not invade the Schumacher family’s privacy; it may actually stall some of the very inappropriate digging that has been going on.

  17. Gaz Boy says:

    James, its 10 years ago this very day when Michael, from pole position, waltzed off into the lead from pole position in Melbourne and crushed the opposition to win the 2004 Australian grand prix.
    That ultimately sent Michael on his way to his total domination of the 2004 world championship. I remember Jim Rosenthal saying mid summer 2004 than even though Michael was dominating F1, just appreciate one of the true greats at the top of his game.
    It’s been an awful winter one of the other, what with Michael’s accident, Jenson’s dad John sadly dying, rows over Mr E and his alleged impropriety, as well as an incredibly wet, cold, grey, miserable winter here in the Northern Hemisphere – but hope literally springs eternal, and hopefully Michael getting better is a prelude to a summer of sunshine, warmth and great F1 action.
    Get better Michael!

  18. Crom says:

    Thanks for posting this James.

    (the footnote appears to be left in from the previous Williams post)

    1. Joe S says:

      “Doctors say that the greatest risk facing the driver while he remains in a coma and unable to swallow properly, is the possibility that he will contract pneumonia as a result of his lungs being filled with fluid.”

      He already has contracted and beaten pneumonia, but the article doesn’t mention this. The pessimist in me believes all of this articles that spring up in the papers even though I shouldn’t.

    2. Willias says:

      The Telegraph report is far more realistic.

      Being removed from a respirator is not the good news it’s being described as. Many of those in persistent vegetative states are able breath on their own.

      A very low percentage of those in a coma this long ever emerge as functional human beings.

      “Doctors have given it to them straight. Miracles sometimes happen but there is little hope that he will come out of this.”

    3. Steve JR says:

      I definitely recommend reading Gary Hartstein’s take on the Telegraph article – http://formerf1doc.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/only-a-miracle/

      1. Willias says:

        A very pedantic write up focused entirely on a single word used in otherwise excellent Telegraph piece. To summarize.

        The family was probably told he has less than a 1% chance of recovery. In passing this news along, someone described it as “needing a miracle”.

        That’s probably not the language the doctors used, but for all effective purposes, is probably true.

        It suggests he is in a persistent vegetative state. A condition that very few ever have a meaningful recovery from after this long.

        No family wants to admit such hard truth, especially not one with the Schumacher family’s resources. They’ll take extraordinary measures and call upon the top talent in the world. It will delay the inevitable, but the result will be the same.

        It is sad, but he is gone.

  19. MJ says:

    *** Williams has announced that throughout the 2014 season it will run a 20th Anniversary Ayrton Senna logo on its front wing. The message will read “Ayrton Senna Always” and has been designed by the Senna Foundation in Brazil***

    And the point of it printed in this article about Michael is???. With all due respect, nice gesture by Williams to Ayrton, but this article is about Michael, not Ayrton!

    1. Random 79 says:

      James got bagged by someone not so long ago for writing a whole new article every time something new happened.

      I think this is James’ solution – a small article or update doesn’t have to be related to the article it’s appended to, it’s just not quite big enough to warrant one of it’s own.

      But you can’t please everybody…

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Told you, didn’t I Random? No matter what you say, somebody will be offended even if on the flimsiest of excuses. Sad but true.
        I agree, James has actually been very considerate and well meaning, can’t ask more for that – I am sure the Schumacher family appreciate James for wanting the best – like all of us – for Michael.

    2. Nat Lockwood says:

      They’ve had a Senna logo on the car ever year since his death, they’ve just added a 2 to it, it’s not anything to get angry about, yes this story is about Michael, yes it’s awesome Senna is remembered but to be honest it’s happened every year, it just has a number added to it!

  20. Dan Wilson says:

    I was never a fan of Schumacher during his 19 Seasons in Formula one, but its terrible for him and his family to be in this situation. I will keep my fingers crossed for some good news soon

  21. Sebee says:

    Brawn at bed side with iPod filled with “Hits”.

    Can you imagine those classic hits? “No Michael, don’t bother serving that drive through until the final lap.”

    Anyhow, as I keep nagging on and on, we’re way past due for some good news here. I know they are being cautious about releasing info to us. I hope the info we have is really old and things are actually much better and further along. It just feels weird for the season to start with Schumi still not revived.

  22. Paddy says:

    The first grand prix I watched when I was 8 years old, it was the race at Adelaide in 94, the Damon Hill incident, I followed F1 religeously since that Adelaide race and when the internet and media became affordable to my family I was reading day and night, even being sent outside from my class for being caught in computing reading up online of the latest F1 news. I admire Michael and even though many think Jerez 97 was a mistake, I was stunned at the mans absoloute determination, only that of a superstar, its what probably seperates us as people, that utterly ruthless streak of nature but the decency to be the first to shake Mika Hakkinens hand as Mika toured into parc ferme in 1998 at Suzuka. I miss those days of true racing, in this new era of “racing”, if theres any good thing from Michaels terrible accident its that it has reignited the valuable memories of watching proper motorsport, the pinnacle of my sport, formula 1, one perticular memory of Michael was his pass on Mika just after Coulthard, my countryman, had broken down at Monza after the chicane, Murray Walker screaming, the V10 engines shouting at each other as they fought for the line magically into the first Lesmo corner, absoloutly incredible. The man is an icon of my youth and so far my life and to him and his family I pray for his rapid revival.

    Also I would like to say, that after reading a previous comment on this site, which is now one of the few sites that I use. James Allen is one my most trusted and sofar as my 20 years of following my sport intensely can testify, honest journalists that there is around. Keep up your fantastic efforts and thank you and Michael for contributing to my development as a person in some way. You for your honestly and Michael for his chivallry in one of the most competitive sports on earth. Roll on the return from just an echo in my ear of those magic moments 16 years ago where real cars would test the abilities of a driver, person, rookie, champion. Instead of a dell laptop of ten.

    Thanks

  23. Dave Aston says:

    Best car to pit message was the slow down lap after Suzuka 2000… ‘you’re great Ross, you’re great Ross. All of you guys, we did it! Give Corinna a big kiss for me…’ I remember the Pat Symonds interview in Motorsport, where he said most drivers struggle to remember all their mechanic’s names, but Michael knew their names, their birthdays, their wive’s names, their kid’s names… I still have hopes for this giant to wake up. Do it Michael!

    1. Valentino from montreal says:

      There are only 3 moments in my life that I cried when watching Formula One on television :

      1 ) Suzuka 2000 – Finally , after 4 years of disappointment and Heartbrake , Michael Schumacher , the only reason why I ever interest in F1 , won his third championship in a Ferrari … His mission and dream happened .. Make Ferrari world champions aster 21 years of nothing …

      2 ) Monza 2006 – sad , sad and sad day … We all knew , the informed F1 fans , that it was mostly forced upon him … He was the best F1 driver in the world announcing his retirement …

      3 ) The final lap of Brazil 2006 – I could’nt care less watching all that confetti drop down during the podium ceremony and seeing Alonso spraying himself with champaign .. The best driver was retiring without his 8th title … Damn Ferrari engine giving up the previous Grand Prix !

      Michael Schumacher # 1

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Lovely piece. My personal favourite memories of Michael are Hungary 1998 and the San Marino grand prixs of 2005 and 2006 – the new kid versus the old guard, wonderful stuff.

      2. I love all Michael’s races from 1991 to when he retired the second time. He has such a sweet voice and a lovely cheeky smile with a awesome personality. there will never be another Michael Schumacher in this world, he is the best f1 driver I have adored with no complaints from me, not like Damon Hill and Jacques Villenerve complaints about him as Michael says many times We drivers are here for a challenge not a holiday, and I am what I am. no one in this world of our’s to judge him for his bad or good conducts its up to God.

    2. J.Danek says:

      F1 2000 Japanese GP Schumacher Celebrates 3rd Title [LQ] Team Radio:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZYcNOp7P2Q

  24. 69bhp says:

    Really really hope this is true

  25. He will fully recover in Jesus name

    1. yellowbelly says:

      Eh?

      1. Explain your reaction please

  26. zombie says:

    The commitment that Todt,Brawn,Montezemolo,the entire Scuderia Ferrari team and Massa have shown towards Michael goes to prove what he meant to those who knew him the best.

    Keep pushing, Michael ! Remember Spa 1992 and 1995 ? Or the 1998 Hungarian gp when the pitboard read the ominous words “PUSH”! Remember the tank slapping Ferrari putting 23 laps at qualifying speed ? Stay strong, and keep fighting. Like Mika Hakkinen said, this is one race in your life where you don’t have to beat the clock ! Forza Schumi !

  27. goferet says:

    All this is encouraging news.

    As always before we start running we have to take baby steps and before you know it, you’re walking and then sprinting.

    Yes Schumi’s, mental strength is incredible for just like other great people, having a great mind can make your body do extraordinary things like healing super fast.

    Many thanks to all the people that have helped our Schumi get to this point of improvement most especially his dear wife that has been a strong presence in his life during this trying times.

    As for Williams, it’s nice of them to remember Senna on this dreadful anniversary.

    Because of sponsor considerations, most teams do not like including anything else on their cars and so I applaud the team for this remembrance.

    1. kenneth chapman says:

      @goferet. at the risk of sounding picky and somewhat provocative i would take issue with your supposition that, ‘ a great mind can make your body do extraordinary things, like healing super fast’?

      do you have any evidence to support that theory as i tend to believe that no matter how good ones brain actually is [not the mind, which is a tenacious construct at the best of times] healing is a matter of the body’s chemical/biological health and the subsequent abilities to heal itself. similar to how an immune system works or conversely doesn’t work.

      as one who has a largely wrecked immune system my pathway to healing is a constant reminder to stay healthy. my demeanour will not alter that fact.

      1. goferet says:

        @ kenneth chapman

        Excuse me, I guess I didn’t have my facts straight.

        Blessings to you.

      2. kenneth chapman says:

        @ goferet, think nothing of it my good man.

      3. Nedder says:

        The fact is, Michael is a super-fit guy and as such, he stands a better chance than most of some kind of recovery. Part of it is physical, part of it is mental, he’s a strong fella and he’s got all the best people looking out for him. It will be what it will be, I’m hoping for the best. As are we all.

      4. kenneth chapman says:

        the fact is, michael was a super fit guy. during his period of hospitalization his body has atrophied according to random reports of his treatment and exercise regime. without any natural movements associated with shumachers general sporting activities, muscle tone and normal body functions lose their natural abilities and need external intervention.

        another aspect that appears to have been played down is that the brain functions are reduced as a direct corollary of the ‘coma chemical induction’ and any suggestion that by having an alleged ‘super mentality’ means absolutely zip in the course of treatment and attempted recovery.

  28. Matt H says:

    Forza Schumi! Keep fighting Michael. Keep fighting.

  29. Rein says:

    Best wishes to Michael Schumacher, his family and friends for the best possible outcome!

  30. Aelfwald says:

    Telegraph running a story with a very negative prognosis. Just hope JA is right!

  31. Chins says:

    This news gives us more hope! Go Michael!!!

  32. Anil Parmar says:

    Keep Fighting Michael.

    Thank you for this post James. The part about Ross and Jean playing recordings to him genuinely gave me watery eyes. Here’s hoping he pulls through…Victory 92.

  33. Brian Morrison says:

    If you want a well-informed view, then read Gary Hartstein’s Twitter feed and his blog.

    He’s been indicating for some time that MS is taking a long time to “wake up” and that this is not a good sign.

  34. Carlos Marques says:

    Get Michael outside, have Ferrari bring in one of his old F1 cars, fire the engine, rev it up, and then have Ross tell Michael to wake up, get in, and give him 20 fast laps…

    1. Nat Lockwood says:

      Awesome mate and to others talking of the grim reports- the Mirror started that one. do you really believe the Mirror of all papers, please don’t let them fool you guys, and I mean that in the nicest way, I’ve worked alongside nasty media as a freelance F1 photographer and they are the depths of society, they’d rather a grim story than a good and make it up faster than we can run for the bus!

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        nothing new there nat. good news is not ‘good news’, never has been really.

      2. Nat Lockwood says:

        I get your point Kenneth, but at least to me, that he is breathing unassisted (as much as of course it’s a daily, natural, thing for the most of us in the World and something we don’t even think about) it must surely be seen as a positive step for him then shall we say, after all breathing on your own is better than having machines do it for you. What I was really meaning is that the papers will say anything grim, whether true or not, to make a story and that shock factor, to make people buy, they’d rather report that a dog savaged a baby to death, rather than a dog jumped on a choking baby’s chest; to make the stuck item dislodge from the throat and save a life- for a daft example. Let’s hope we do get some news of his eyes opening next, I do believe that would give some relief to the family.

  35. j vann says:

    I have read a very different story on the telegraph online, I hope your story is the accurate one James

  36. Jeff says:

    Unfortunately, I have to agree with the pessimists. Having personal experience w/ a similar experience as Michael’s family, breathing on one’s own and random extremity movement has little/nothing to do with brain function. Rather they’re autonomous functions regulated by the brain stem.

    If the brain itself and brain stem aren’t communicating, the outlook is grim (read vegetative state). I’m not implying Michael’s in this condition, but nothing reported so far points to higher cognitive functions.

    Hoping for the best, Michael, family, friends…

    1. kenneth chapman says:

      well jeff, some plain speaking commonsense there. from a completely dispassionate viewpoint there are many other eminently qualified medicos who have chipped in with an overall summary of the current situation. they would be fully aware of the conditions and their prognosis would be valid, in a general sense.

      in the absense of any meaningful disclosures by the ‘management team’ i tend to listen with great interest to any of the aforementioned and take my cues as they appear.

      what they are saying is simply, that all is not as i should be and the likelihood of a recovery either full or partial becomes less likely as time passes. IMO a realistic outlook.

      1. Jeff says:

        Thanks for the comments Kenneth. I agree, with little substantive news, we’re all taking whatever rumors/tidbits we’re hearing and extrapolating.

        I was never a Michael fan as a racing driver, but by all accounts he is an excellent husband/father/friend, and philanthropic and modest. Even if he wasn’t, to suffer such a serious injury in such ignominious circumstances is tragic. I’m sure most if not all, including non Michael as racer fans such as myself, are praying for the best.

        Would you happen to have links to medical professionals who’ve proferred their opinions? I read Hartstein’s, but that’s all. Usual caveats apply: You’re not saying their words are true, these are not official statements from Schumacher press, etc…. Just so everyone’s clear you/I am not perpetuating rumors :)

      2. kenneth chapman says:

        @ jeff my references are ‘general’ comments accumulated from various reports. i have sourced neuro data from many areas without being specific. for more ‘general’ comments the ‘daily mail’ has recently published information in a ‘general’ sense and also reported ‘supposed’ details from data supplied by shumachers medical team? whether this has any serious foundation is a matter for the individual to either accept or reject.

        in very many ways we share opinons based on facts and your separation of shumacher the ‘man’ and shumacher ‘the driver’ are in total sympathy with my outlook. where we differ is how we treat the situation as individuals. ‘praying’ is a word that doesn’t appear in my lexicon and i find it all rather odd that people still refer to this as if they actually do ‘pray’! something my cynical outlook rejects. there is no evidence to support this activity, if there was then the world would be a totally different place. what a muslim prays for and what a jew prays for would be totally opposite and they can’t both get a result! i digress, sorry for that.

        still, if it makes people feel better, so be it.

  37. Rod says:

    This is so tragic. I still don’t come to terms with it.

  38. fausta says:

    Hang in there Michael! Wishing you the best of Luck!

  39. CJ says:

    I really hope this is true and Michael is breathing on his own. It’s so difficult with all these conflicting stories going around. I will keep hoping for Michael and his family. Forza Schumi.

    James, will you be writing another book about Michael? Covering his F1 comeback? It would be great if you did, I really enjoyed your previous two about Michael.

  40. fiona says:

    I have been praying for Michael to get well every day since this awful accident happened I for one am pleased to get any news on his progress so thank you

  41. Nat Lockwood says:

    Another glimmer of hope! #PrayforSchumacher

  42. Reuben says:

    Whilst Schumi had his biggest slice of success on the naughties, he really was, in my opinion, at the height of his powers in the nineties. The win in Spain, 1996 was as good as it gets, totally trouncing the competion in horrendous conditions; conditions that these days, would result in a delayed start and a safety car. Then again in Hungary 1998 when and aggressive pit stop strategy meant that he had to drive properly flat out to build the gap…and he did just that. I remember watching that race thinking “this guy is FLYING”. Schumi would squeeze every last drop out of his car in the those days and mistakes were rare. Yes, he had is flaws but so did Senna. Michael is a legend of F1 and one of the top competitors of any sport, worldwide. A good human being too. Did he not donate a huge sum of money to the 2004 tsunami relief fund? Even greater than some entire countries donated I heard. Anyway, on his day, I don’t think there have been many faster than Schumi and I for one think he’s fantastic and hopray to god that he pulls though. God bless you Michael.

    1. Reuben says:

      *in the naughties, not on!!

    2. Reuben says:

      Oh boy, so many spelling mistakes. Sorry, iPads and fat fingers don’t work too well together.

  43. Nige says:

    Godspeed Michael. The world awaits your return.

  44. Bookworm says:

    Although I’ve never been a true Schumacher fan, as a F1 book lover I’ve always hoped Michael would be able to pen his final autobiography in retirement. As a F1 fan I’m still hoping he will (with Sabine’s help again).

    James – Looking forward to your next book on Michael with the Todt foreword. Sounds promising already. The post 2006 chapters will be really interesting.

    1. Dutch johnny says:

      Another book on schumi from james? Is this Thrue or are is this whisfull tinking?

  45. I am pleased Michael is progessing well , people must have faith as God will make Michael strong, he may have a quieter life than usual but at least he will be happier to lead a normal happy family life, and get on with his family and lovely hobbies he does like.

  46. dux says:

    So very sad but to me all hope is not lost, if anyone could come back from this terrible tragedy it would be Schumacher.

    God bless him.

  47. Olivier says:

    This is great news if true. A very important milestone in his recovery process. I was worried as Eddie Jordan is selling Michael’s debut F1 car right now.

    I understand why the family is very secretive about Michael. No one knows what kind of Michael is going to wake up. We should give them time to adapt.

    Thanks for sharing James. It is a though balancing act writing about this. I appreciate that.

  48. Hello says:

    They should play the engine noise from his races. There’s nothing more that a drivers ear is tuned to than that.

  49. M_E says:

    there is a such thing as false hope and unfortunately one of the elements of hope presented in james article the twitching of body parts fingers etc could be one of those red herrings. Unfortunately twitches like that can actually be the sign of a much worse thing (an actual deterioration in condition vs improvent) so its for those sort of reasons that the family wished to keep all speculation out of this no matter how just, because the reality is journalists are not doctors. The only people qualified to release information are his doctors because they are the ones dealing with his situation 24/7
    His doctors are no doubt some of the best in the world (not least because of his vast wealth, but also connections obtained as a result of that weath and concurrently over the years and the arena where that wealth was gathered f1- one of the most dangerous sports in the world afterall) and so what an ‘inferior’ doctor believes and who also may not be directly involved in his care, may not be applicable here. in short lay off the speculation, only the doctors know the true situation and will be telling the world when the time is right.

  50. Matt W says:

    Don’t believe anything the papers say. As a kid I read a report that British Wrestler Davey Boy Smith would never walk again in The Sun. 6 months later he was back in the ring.

    Thank you for the article James, I feel the tone was perfect. As a sports journalist this isn’t a situation you can ignore.

  51. sunny stivala says:

    I was never one to see eye to eye with most of what James Allen writes but on this one (his write-up) about Michael Schumacher situation I can confirm that the Italian source he is quoting is one of the most reputable and solid around in F1, furthermore I can assure one and all on here that James Allen writings/his site is one of the very,very few around which did not fall into the low pit of speculation/s regarding this unfortunate situation the Schumacher family found themselves in.
    All those around Michael are doing everything they can, but above all are continuing to hope.

    1. Jeff says:

      The unfortunate part is that Gazzetta dello Sport’s article is no indication of any improvement, that’s the point.

      As mentioned, breathing on one’s own, while an improvement physically over requiring a ventilator, is no sign either way about brain function. It’s an autonomous or automatic function of the body unregulated by the “thinking” brain. In other words, a person can be “Brain-Dead” or “Brain-Damaged” and still breath w/o assistance.

      Similarly, limb movements, eye fluttering, etc., are not signs of consciousness, awareness, higher brain function.

      Michael COULD be recovering, but nothing quoted in the article even hint at improvement, that his brain is functioning.

      The scariest thought would be if his brain is functional, but the brain stem is not. I’d personally choose death over that or a “persistent vegetative state.”

  52. Peter says:

    Very nice article.

  53. danny almonte says:

    This has quickly become a media circus. The media can’t help themselves with the sensational headlines based on secret sources. Of course any positive spin will be lapped up by the fanatics. People need to drop this story and respect the clearly expressed wishes of the people involved. I doubt it will happen and expect similar stories in the future. Some of the comments on this post could have been copy and pasted from any forum 20 years ago.

    1. J.Danek says:

      People need to drop this story and respect the clearly expressed wishes of the people involved.

      Funny – that’s the same thing James Clapper and Keith Alexander have been saying about Glenn Greenwald’s NSA reporting.

      James Allen is clearly as respected an F1 journalist as Greenwald is a civil libertarian and investigative journalist and it’s disappointing that an alleged fan of F1 would come here and make the same argument against James’s work as is being made by two of the worst abusers of the US Constitution vis-a-vis GG’s NSA exposé (based on Snowden sourcing).

  54. Distant Knight says:

    Very different to what the media here in Australia are reporting at the moment :-(

  55. KenC says:

    Let’s hep the Gazzetto is more accurate than the DailyMail.

  56. Mohan says:

    I never did like Michael in his prime racing days when he was fighting Hakkinen & Co. But during his second coming I really wanted him to win a race, because he was out to prove age was no bar. We never had the luck to see that happen.

    Get well Schumi. We miss you.

  57. ajag says:

    Somebody needs to roll an F1 car with a nice Van engine under that hospital window and fire it up. That will get Michael awake and I don’t mean this sarcastically!

    1. Goldy says:

      Spot on man I think he neads a v10 engine revving.

  58. Nathhulal says:

    Brawn apparently plays recordings of pit to car radio from their times racing together, “because Michael needs to string together the threads of his life, voices and sounds.”
    >> His response to the pit radio conversation during the Austrian GP 2002 can be a good clue to his state of recovery. Or the qualifying lap from Monaco 2006.
    Maybe they should play those recordings.

    Wishing speedy recovery to the German star.

  59. CC says:

    Get well Michael.

  60. eric says:

    Every single day I, with trepidation, look for news on how he is doing. Some days I think I’ll find some good news and others that he has perished from his injuries. I remember Ronnie Peterson’s crash in Monza… we waited for news and then he was gone. I have no idea how this will resolve itself but you have to prepare yourself either way.

  61. kenneth chapman says:

    is shumacher really breathing normally and not hooked up to a respirator?

  62. Khan says:

    I have always been a Schumacher fan but I find that his management have handled this really awkwardly. They have only responded whenever there has been a speculation which is bound to occur considering the fame Schumacher has. They should send press releases atleast once a week. It would be acceptable to everyone even if the contents of the statement are same each and every time.

    I also think that some of the criticism which is coming James Allen’s way is unfair as he has been an informative yet an unbiased reporter and in my view he has never been a sensationalist. Keep up the good work JA you have been doing and it would be great if you were to return to commentate on live races on tele.

  63. Jusu says:

    So sad…
    We are in no position to even discuss about Michael’s condition. Its not our task, because it’s well known what the specialists of brain damage surgeons communicate: That MS will never be the same he once was. Alive I hope, but not the same F1 driver.

  64. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    I think we should be thankful that we were able to witness Michael’s second stint in F1. If not for that, people’s view on his career would be far more devisive.

    Get well soon.

  65. kenneth chapman says:

    @adrian newey jnr. that actually begs the question as to what was it during his disastrous second stint in F1 that changed any of his previous unsportsmanlike actions?

    trying to drive barrichello into the wall during the hungarian GP 2010 would be a great sporting moment to start with. check the mail-on-line for pics and story if you’ve forgotten. as keke rosberg claimed at the the time, ‘shumacher is cheap cheat’. his words not mine.

  66. kenneth chapman says:

    sorry to double dip here chaps but i have just read an article penned by some eminent brain/neuro specialists in which they summarised the situation and gave a general opinion.

    they arrived at a conclusion that even the treating medicos may not be fully aware of exactly what might eventuate but the most interesting comment was that ‘possibly the speculation will be the prognosis’. interesting.

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