Michael Schumacher 'communicating with his eyes', says 'friend'

But manager disputes claims one year after accident

Updated: 
Michael Schumacher 'communicating with his eyes', says friend

Michael Schumacher's manager has said the Formula One racing driver faces a "long, hard fight" to recovery after claims emerged he was beginning to communicate with his eyes.

Former F1 driver Philippe Streiff this weekend told Le Parisien that Schumacher "had yet to recover the power of speech" but was "nevertheless starting to recognise those close to him", reports the Guardian.

Streiff added that his information had come from contact with Schumacher's wife, Corinne, and with his neurosurgeon, Gérard Saillant, whom he knows as a result of his own racing accident in 1989.

But, exactly one year after Michael's skiing accident near Meribel in France on 29 December 2013, his manager, Sabine Kehm, disputes the claims and says the driver is still facing a long road to recovery.

Kehm said: "We need a long time. It's going to be a long time and a hard fight. He is making progress appropriate to the severity of the situation."

Sabine added that Streiff was not a close friend of Schumacher and that his claims to have had contact with the two people named were "factually wrong".

According to the Daily Telegraph, she said: "I cannot confirm that [report]. I can only confirm that I do not know where Mr Streiff has his information from because he has no contact with us and he never has."

And the BBC reports that Professor Gerard Saillant, the surgeon, also denied giving any information to Mr Streiff.

According to the AFP agency, he said: "For a year, I have never had any contact, verbal, written or physical with Phillipe Streiff."

Schumacher is a seven-time F1 champion. After suffering a severe head injury in his skiing accident he spent nine months being treated in French and Swiss hospitals before being transferred to his family home in Geneva in September.

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