Former F1 doctor tells Michael Schumacher fans to prepare for 'really bad news'

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The former chief doctor of Formula One has warned that fans of Michael Schumacher should prepare for "really bad news" following his ski accident last year.

The famous racing driver has been in a artificial coma since 29 December after suffering serious brain injuries in a crash at a French ski resort.

Former F1 doctor Gary Harstein believes that fans should prepare for the worst.

According to the Mirror, he wrote on his blog: "As time goes on it becomes less and less likely that Michael will emerge to any significant extent.

"I spent years at circuits drenched in red by the Ferrari caps, flags, and shirts, and all of that for Michael. I'm still staggered by the depth and persistence of his fans' love for him.

"And whereas I worried more than a bit about what was going to happen when and if really bad news got announced, I've realised that perhaps the lack of status updates has given us all a chance to move on a bit, to process what's happening, and to start to... detach."

According to the Daily Record, Harstein added: "As mentioned previously, the longer one remains in a vegetative state, the less the likelihood of emerging, and the higher the chances of severe ramifications if the patient does in fact emerge.

"Most definitions consider the vegetative state to be permanent one year after the injury."

Recent reports suggested that Schumacher was showing "small, encouraging signs" of recovery.

According to the BBC, Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm released the statement on behalf of his family because of the "increasing interest in [his] condition in light of the start of the Formula 1 season".

The statement read: "There sometimes are small, encouraging signs, but we also know this is the time to be very patient.

"Michael has suffered severe injuries. It is very hard to comprehend for all of us that Michael, who had overcome a lot of precarious situations in the past, has been hurt so terribly in such a banal situation.

"It was clear from the start this will be a long and hard fight for Michael, and we are taking this fight on together with the team of doctors, whom we fully trust.

"The length of the process is not the important part for us.

"It is heart-warming to see how much sympathy his family is shown and I can say the family is extremely grateful for it."

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