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Formula 1’s Michael Schumacher in critical condition after skiing accident

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Story highlights

Michael Schumacher's family thanks doctors for doing "everything possible"

Doctors say it's too early to give a prognosis for Schumacher

He required immediate brain surgery

Ski resort's director says the 44-year-old hit his helmet on a rock after falling

CNN —  

“But he was always very mindful of the danger around him. I approached him for an interview at the top of the slope and he said it would have to be quick as he wanted to check the piste. That meant he wanted to make sure he understood the slopes, the cambers, even though it was only a fun race.”

Doctors who have been treating Schumacher at the University Hospital Center of Grenoble said at a news conference that it was too early to say what the driver’s prognosis might be.

In a prepared statement, Schumacher’s family thanked doctors for doing “everything possible to help Michael.” They also thanked people around the world for the outpouring of support.

The German, who retired from the elite motorsport for the second time in 2012, fell and hit his head on a rock Sunday, said the director of the Meribel resort where Schumacher was skiing.

Schumacher was in a coma when he arrived at the hospital and required immediate brain surgery, officials said. So far, he has undergone one operation and is being kept in a coma, they said Monday.

Schumacher, who turns 45 Friday, won a record seven world titles in his spectacular Formula 1 career and “also holds nearly every scoring record in the book by a considerable margin,” according to the motorsport’s official website.

02:31 - Source: CNN
What happened in Schumacher accident?

He dominated the competition for the best part of a decade, winning five world championships in a row between 2000 and 2004.

Schumacher suffered serious injury once during his career in the high-speed sport, breaking his leg in a crash at the British Grand Prix in 1999.

Why induced comas help injured brains

Wearing a helmet

His skiing accident happened while he was off-piste (on unmarked slopes) Sunday morning in the mountains between Georges Bauduis Piste and La Biche Piste, resort director Christophe Gernignon-Lecomte said.

Schumacher was wearing a helmet when he hit his head, Gernignon-Lecomte said. Rescuers reached him minutes later, and he was airlifted to a nearby hospital, the director said.

Doctors at the Grenoble hospital said that without the helmet’s protection, Schumacher wouldn’t have made it to the operating table.

The cause of the accident, which is being investigated by police, remains unclear, Gernignon-Lecomte said.

Schumacher “was not alone” when he fell, his spokeswoman Sabine Kehm said in a prepared statement. But nobody else was involved, she said.