UPDATE: Michael Schumacher remains in an induced coma after surgery overnight. (9:14pm AEDT).
Michael Schumacher's condition remains critical and he will remain in an induced coma for the forseeable future according to the medical team treating him at Grenoble's University Hospital.
"I'd say this accident happened in the right place because he was taken into hospital immediately and operated on as soon as he arrived, this meant his state is critical and he is still in a coma and he will be kept in a coma," said Professor Jean-Francois Payen.
Payen told the media conference that the helmet he was wearing most likely saved his life.
"We think his helmet did help, without a helmet he wouldn't be here now."
Scotching rumours that the seven-time world champion had been operated on twice during the night, Payen indicated Schumacher underwent one surgery to relieve pressure on the brain.
"We can say he is fighting for his life. We judge him to be in a very serious situation. We cannot tell what the outcome will be yet. We are working hour-by-hour but it's too early to say what is going to happen and to have a prognosis."
The team also confirmed he was being kept in the coma to reduce stimulus to the brain and to increase Schumacher's chances of recovery.
The press conference ended with little further detail, but Professor Payen did say that he had significant bruising to the brain.
Another update is expected overnight.
As well as Schumacher's family, his old boss at Ferrari and current President of the FIA, Jean Todt is at the hospital.
Also present is Professor Gerard Saillant who supervised the German's care after his 1999 accident at Silverstone. Saillant is a specialist in brain and spine injury.
UPDATE: Coma believed to be deliberately induced as part of standard procedure. (2:37pm AEDT).
Seven time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher is in a critical condition in a French hospital after suffering a fall while skiiing.
According to a statement from Schumacher's longtime spokesperson Sabine Kehm, the 44-year-old was on the snow with his son, fourteen year-old Mick.
The pair were skiing in an unmarked area between two difficult runs when the senior Schumacher fell and hit his head on a rock. The accident was witnessed by a number of people nearby, who immediately raised the alarm.
Schumacher was holidaying with his family in the French ski resort of Meribel. A spokesman for the resort said that he was unconscious for less than a minute, but had regained consciousness by the time a nearby patrol had been alerted.
He was taken from the accident scene in under ten minutes and initially reported to be “shaken but otherwise okay.” He was first taken by helicopter to a hospital in nearby Moutiers.
Various reports indicate his condition deteriorated before being transferred again, by helicopter, to University Hospital in Grenoble.
In a statement, the Grenoble hospital said, “Mr Schumacher was admitted to the University Hospital of Grenoble at 12:40pm, following a skiing accident which occurred in Meribel in the late morning.”
"He suffered a severe head injury with coma on arrival, which required immediate neurosurgical intervention. He remains in a critical situation."
It is believed the German suffered a cerebral haemorrhage.
L'Equipe newspaper journalist Carole Bouchard told Sky Sports News, "It seems like his condition has deteriorated in the evening, because they are now saying he is in a coma because of maybe a brain hemorrhage so his condition is really critical and his life is in jeopardy.”
However, former Formula 1 chief medical officer Gary Hartstein has suggested Schumacher was most likely placed in an induced coma for the flight to Grenoble (to help keep the airways open and allow the brain to swell in a controlled fashion).
Hartstein explained that the induced coma is more akin to a lengthy anaesthetic to help stabilise the patient’s airway as head injuries can cause loss of control to the throat and tongue.
He also said that Schumacher’s condition is listed as critical because the coma requires him to be on a ventilator.
Hartstein added that Schumacher’s deterioration likely triggered the need to sedate him before transferring to Grenoble.
The German’s spokeswoman, Sabine Kehm, released a statement saying he was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident and later confirmed his condition had worsened and that he had undergone neurosurgery.
The statement also indicated that there would be no further updates until 1000 GMT.
TMR will watch for any more news, and keep you posted.
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