FFE Magazine

Experts talk about waking up from a Coma



Family, friends and fans of Formula One (F1)’s greatest racer of all time Michael Schumacher would have to wait more before finally seeing the champion’s eyes flutter open.


Michael had been put under medically induced coma after hitting his head on a rock in a skiing accident last 29 December 2013. Doctors said the 45-year-old icon would have died had he not worn his skiing helmet. The induced coma was done to protect the racer’s brain as doctors treated his traumatic brain injury (TBI).


Now that Schumacher is out of harm’s way, doctors have been gradually waking him up, adding that this process will take long. British charity group Headway spokesman Luke Griggs said ‘Waking from a coma is not like how it is portrayed in the movies.


‘It can be a very gradual process that can take several days or weeks. For the family, the initial fear about whether or not the individual will survive is replaced by fear of what the future will hold and what level of recovery their loved one will make.’


British paramedic Mark Smith, whose son suffers from mental health conditions and was previously placed under induced coma, shared ‘Unfortunately the public perception is that people just wake up and start their everyday activities after a couple of days. That’s not the case. It is very slow; there are no finite answers. You just have to stay hopeful that you will get interaction back one day.’


According to the medical journal The Lancet, 1/5 of adults who have suffered from TBI have recovered well. The rest, however, perished or suffered from enduring disabilities. Cambridge Addenbrooke neurosurgeon Dr Peter Kirkpatrick said Michael may not get back to his previous shape, but the likelihood he will recover fully is ‘medically possible.’


Michael has been married to Corinna for nearly 20 years. The couple has two kids, Gina Marie, 16 and 14-year-old Mick who was skiing with his father when the accident happened. With Michael’s brother Ralph Schumacher, the family had been vigilantly and painfully waiting in a hotel near Grenoble hospital for the day Michael finally wakes up.


Headway said that TBI can make strong marriages stronger and troubled marriages more difficult. The group’s spokesman added that ‘the effects of brain injury can be devastating and last a lifetime. It can change every aspect of you: walking, talking, thinking and feeling. It can change personalities as well as capabilities.


‘However, we know that, with the right help at the right time, there can be life after brain injury.’


As of today, doctors are keeping mum on Michael’s condition to respect the family’s request for privacy.





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