Michael Schumacher's helmet smashed into two in ski accident, remains in coma

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A ski helmet is pictured on the slope in the Tyrolean ski resort of Hochoetz. Michael Schumacher's helmet almost certainly saved his life. Reuters A ski helmet is pictured on the slope in the Tyrolean ski resort of Hochoetz. Michael Schumacher's helmet almost certainly saved his life. Reuters
SummaryFormula One legend Michael Schumacher remained in an induced coma today after spending a third night in hospital with severe brain injuries sustained during a skiing accident in the French Alps.

Formula One legend Michael Schumacher remained in an induced coma today after spending a third night in hospital with severe brain injuries sustained during a skiing accident in the French Alps.

The German racing great entered the new year in a critical condition with his family at his bedside and doctors unsure of his future after a second operation to remove a blood clot in his brain.

The seven-time world champion fell and slammed his head on a rock while skiing off-piste on Sunday at the upmarket Meribel ski resort.

Reports the 44-year-old was left fighting for his life stunned the sports world and legions of Formula One fans.

On Tuesday doctors were surprised by a slight improvement in his condition which allowed them to perform the second nearly two-hour long procedure, but said he was "not out of danger" yet.

Jean-Francois Payen, head of the intensive care unit at the hospital in the French Alpine city of Grenoble, warned that Michael Schumacher was not out of the woods.

"We cannot speculate on the future," he said. "We cannot say he is out of danger but we have gained some time."

He said scans showed that the removal of the bleeding had been done in a "satisfactory manner", but ruled out Michael Schumacher's transfer from the hospital as it could be "dangerous".

Doctors have said that Michael Schumacher, due to turn 45 on January 3, has age and physical fitness on his side.

He had been put in a medically induced coma to spur recovery. His temperature has also been reduced to around 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) to reduce swelling.

By being unconscious, the brain is also switched off to sounds, light and other triggers that cause the organ to use up oxygen as it processes the stimuli.

Helmet smashed 'in two'

A source close to an investigation into the off-piste accident at the upmarket ski resort of Meribel said that Michael Schumacher's helmet, which medics say saved his life, was smashed "in two" by the impact.

According to his manager Sabine Kehm, Michael Schumacher was skiing "with a small group of friends" as well as his 14-year-old son Mick.

Kehm told reporters at the hospital that he was not skiing at high speed when the accident happened. "He seems to have hit a rock as he took a turn. It was a chain of unfortunate circumstances."

Kehm added that the accident could have happened even "at 10 kilometres (six miles) per

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