International

Michael Schumacher Remains In Coma On Eve Of 45th Birthday

Race car legend Michael Schumacher "remains in a critical but stable condition on Thursday, four days after his skiing accident in the French Alps," Sky Sports reports.

The German driver turns 45 on Friday.

Michael Schumacher in April 2012. i i

Michael Schumacher in April 2012. Eugene Hoshiko/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Eugene Hoshiko/AP
Michael Schumacher in April 2012.

Michael Schumacher in April 2012.

Eugene Hoshiko/AP

His family has posted a message to those who have shown their concern for his health:

"Following Michael's sking accident, we would like to thank the people from all around the world who have expressed their sympathy and sent their best wishes for his recovery. They are giving us great support.

"We all know he is a fighter and will not give up."

This person would not be among those the family appreciates:

"With doctors reluctant to give a prognosis on injured race Michael Schumacher, one journalist apparently tried to get answers for himself by dressing up as a priest in order to get into the hospital room where Schumacher is lying in a coma," The Wire writes. "The man was escorted off the premises when his cover was blown."

Schumacher, as we've previously posted, was wearing a helmet when he fell and struck a rock Sunday while skiing in Grenoble. The blow to his head caused extensive bleeding in his brain. Doctors induced a coma and have operated twice in a bid to reduce swelling. On Tuesday, they said there had been some "surprising" improvement but that he was not out of danger. They have not publicly discussed his chances for recovery.

As we've also written previously:

During Schumacher's F1 racing career, the sport's website says, "his sheer dominance" was beyond doubt before his first retirement in 2006: "Seven times a champion, Michael Schumacher also holds nearly every scoring record in the book by a considerable margin."

The sport has made Schumacher a very wealthy man. "Before he retired the first time, Schumacher was earning $60 million to $80 million annually as one of the world's highest-paid athletes," the Los Angeles Times adds. In 2001, he topped Forbes' annual list of sporting superstars — with $59 million in earnings.

His return to racing did not lead to the type of success he previously enjoyed. As the Times says, "after a three-year absence, Schumacher, who won five of his titles with Ferrari in consecutive years, emerged from retirement to drive again from 2010 through 2012, this time for the Mercedes team. The comeback proved disappointing, with the German driver going winless and managing only one top-three finish."

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