Schumacher, age 45, was induced after he suffered severe head trauma in a skiing accident at a French Alps resort on December 29th of last year. Initial news of the accident served as a big jolt to the racing world, who was used to seeing Schumacher take on death defying events and come out unscathed.
For 20 years, Schumacher dominated the circuit, becoming Formula One’s all-time leader in championships won, race victories, and races won in a single season. During his time out on the track, Schumacher found success by being one of the most confident, skillful, daring, and at times reckless drivers around. This was especially true early in his racing career when he was struggling to make a name for himself.
One of the finest examples of this came in the 1991 Sportscar World Championships. During this race, Schumacher was involved in a collision with fellow driver Derek Warwick. In a Formula One account of the race, we are told, “While trying to set his flying lap in qualifying, Schumacher encountered Warwick’s Jaguar on a slow lap resulting in lost time for Schumacher. As revenge for being in his way, Schumacher swerved the Sauber into Warwick’s car, hitting the Jaguar’s nose and front wheel.”
Of course, this is nothing out of the ordinary for a Formula One driver; being aggressive and having a daredevil attitude is one of the pre-requisites for being a professional race car driver. It HAS to be a part of their DNA.
When Schumacher finally retired in 2012, he continued on into his new life with the same intrepid attitude. He spent his time jumping from airplanes, raising and training horses, and still occasionally getting behind the wheel. This aptitude and seemingly untouchable skill for danger made news of his accident all the more shocking.
With details emerging about the accident, it seemed that things did not look good for Schumacher. Former Formula One chief doctor, Dr. Gary Hartsteing, said in a March 24th blog post, “As time goes on, it becomes less and less likely that Michael will emerge to any significant extent… 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.”
But despite knowledge of the coma, there was still a lot that was not known about the incident or Schumacher’s condition. The family wanted to keep things under wraps. Schumacher’s agent Sabine Kehm says, “We would like to thank you all for the continuous sympathies. At the same time we again ask for understanding that we do not intend to disclose details. This is necessary to protect the privacy of Michael and his family, and to enable the medical team to work in full calmness.”