Formula One legend Michael Schumacher is in a critical condition in hospital after suffering a brain hemorrhage in a skiing accident in France.
French television station BFMTV and local paper Le Dauphine Libere reported on Sunday, local time, that the condition of the record seven-times F1 champion had deteriorated from serious to critical.
Grenoble University Hospital released a statement saying that the former German champion had suffered a "severe head injury with coma," and had undergone neurosurgery, Le Dauphine Libere reported.
Jean-Marc Grenier, the director of care at Grenoble University Hospital, said that Schumacher was admitted to the hospital in a coma 12.40pm.
‘‘He suffered [on] his arrival a severe head injury with coma, which required neurosurgical intervention immediately. He remains in a critical situation,’’ he said.
Schumacher’s manager Sabine Kehm had earlier confirmed that Schumacher sustained head injuries from the accident in the French skiing resort of Meribel.
Kem said Schumacher was wearing a helmet and not alone at the time of the incident.
Schumacher's 14-year-old son was skiing with his father when the accident happened, the resort said.
The seven-time German world champion, who reportedly owns property at the resort, was skiing off-piste with other skiers when the crash occurred.
BFMTV said it had been informed by a medical source that Schumacher suffered a brain hemorrhage when he fell and struck his head on a rock.
Earlier, the French Mountain Gendarmerie said Schumacher was wearing a helmet when he had a hard fall at the Meribel resort and that he sustained a "relatively serious" head injury. At the time, the gendarmerie said the 44-year-old's life was not in danger.
In a statement, the Meribel resort said Schumacher was conscious when rescuers arrived on the scene. Schumacher was initially taken to a local hospital and later transferred to a hospital in the city of Grenoble for a fuller examination and a battery of tests.
Those tests were still ongoing, the resort said, adding that orthopedic and trauma surgeon Gerard Saillant had travelled from Paris to the Grenoble hospital to examine Schumacher.
German news agency DPA said it was Saillant who operated on Schumacher when he broke his leg during a crash at the Silverstone race course in 1999.
In an email to The Associated Press, Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm said the retired driver was on a private skiing trip and "fell on his head".
"We ask for understanding that we cannot give running updates on his condition. He wore a helmet and was not alone," Kehm said.
Formula One fans reportedly have gathered outside the hospital in Grenoble, while Formula One drivers are posting their well-wishes on Twitter.
Brazilian driver Felipe Massa (@Felipe1Massa) posted a photograph of himself with Schumacher alongside the words: ‘‘I am praying for you my brother !! I hope you have a quick recovery !! God bless you Michael.’’
Other drivers wrote:
I hope Michael Schumacher will get well soon! All my best to him and his family #gutebesserung— Adrian Sutil (@SutilAdrian) December 29, 2013
In addition to the crash at Silverstone, Schumacher was hurt seriously in a motorcycling accident in February 2009 in Spain when he suffered neck and spine injuries. He recovered sufficiently from those injuries to make a comeback in F1.
The resort said he was skiing off-piste when he fell and hit his head on a rock. "He was shocked, a little rattled but conscious," Christophe Gernigon-Lecomte, the director of tourism at Meribel, said in a statement.
Schumacher retired in 2006 after winning five straight titles with Ferrari following two earlier ones with Benetton. He came back to the sport in 2010 and drove for three seasons for Mercedes without much success before retiring again last year.
smh.com.au with AP