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Schumacher 'blinks' as he is woken from coma

AFP/The Local · 30 Jan 2014, 14:50

Published: 30 Jan 2014 14:50 GMT+01:00

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The German Formula One legend has been in a medically-induced coma since a ski accident in France on December 29th.

On Thursday his manager confirmed he was slowly being brought out of his coma by doctors who were reducing his sedative.

And French newspaper L'Equipe reported on Thursday that Schumacher was now responding "positively" to brain tests and blinked during them. 

The paper said: “After gradually reducing the sedation of the patient, the team of Professor Emmanuel Gay [the medic overseeing Schumacher’s treatment] has been doing neurological tests since Monday. During this first stage, the patient blinked.”

Meanwhile, Sky News reported Schumacher was "responding to instructions". 

A statement from his manager Sabine Kehm on Thursday warned that the process of waking Schumacher from his coma "could take a long time".

"For the protection of the family, it was originally agreed by the interested parties to communicate this information only once this process was consolidated," the statement added.

After his fall at Meribel ski resort in the French Alps, Schumacher was sedated and cooled to around 35C to ease the risk of further damage to the brain.

Surgeons at Grenoble University Hospital say they decided on the coma after operating on bleeding and bruising in his brain.

They carried out a post-operative scan that revealed "widespread lesions" on both sides of the brain. A second operation, to treat bleeding, took place on December 30th.

PHOTO GALLERY: Schumacher's career in pictures

"A blow to the head causes bruising, a swelling, which takes place in a confined space, the skull, which leads to pressure on the brain," Gerard Audibert, a professor of neurosurgery at the University Hospital Centre in Nancy, eastern France said on Tuesday.

He added it was "quite rare" for a coma to be induced for more than three weeks.

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Once pressure within the skull has stabilized at a normal level, sedation levels are scaled back and the patient returns to consciousness, but "it's not unexceptional for a patient not to revive," Audibert said.

Schumacher dominated Formula One for much of his racing career before his retirement in 2012. He won the F1 title seven times, more than any other driver, and notched up 91 victories between 1994 and 2004.

READ MORE: Schumacher skiing at 'appropriate speed'

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AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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