Ex-Formula One driver and Paralympic champion Alex Zanardi has been transferred from hospital to a specialist neuro-rehabilitation center, after suffering a horrific cycling crash in June.
The 53-year-old Zanardi, who had both his legs amputated after a motor racing accident almost 20 years ago, had lost control of his handbike while competing in a relay race in Tuscany, Italy.
Zanardi was subsequently airlifted to the Santa Maria alle Scotte hospital in Siena, where he underwent three hours of emergency neurological surgery and was placed in an artificial coma.
The hospital released a statement on Tuesday confirming Zanardi had been transferred after his sedation had ended.
“The stability of the general clinical conditions and the neurological picture allowed the transfer … to a specialized recovery and functional rehabilitation center,” it read.
“Alex Zanardi was therefore transferred today [Tuesday] to another facility.”
“Today a new path begins for Alex Zanardi,” added hospital general manager, Valtere Giovannini.
The Italian is an incredibly popular figure. He had been in training for this year’s Tokyo Paralympics, hoping to add to his impressive tally of gold medals.
Among the many messages of support, Pope Francis wrote him a letter whilst he continued his recovery in hospital. He praised Zanardi for living life to the fullest and for providing a “lesson in humanity.”