Michael Schumacher in a coma after ski accident

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/motorracing/chi-michael-schumacher-head-injury-20131229,0,2225915.story

“We can say that his condition is life-threatening,” Jean-Francois Payen, head anesthetician at the CHU hospital in the eastern French city of Grenoble, told a news conference. “For the moment we cannot say what Michael Schumacher’s future is,” he added. “We are working round the clock - we are trying to win time.”

Damn

Very sad. He never had an accident in his Formula 1 cars, did he?

Man, skiing sure seems dangerous. A lot pf people seem to hit rocks and trees. He was even wearing a helmet. Sonny Bono died skiing. Didn’t someone else famous die a few years back while skiing? Edit: It was Nathasha Richardson, Liam Neeson’s wife.

I remember one time I tried out a double diamond at Brekenridge, CO. It was a 2 foot wide path surrounded by trees at a 30 or more degree slope. Terrifying.

Natasha Richardson died in March 2009 from head injuries sustained in a skiing accident. Her death was really tragic. She was injured during a beginner’s skiing lesson, seemed okay and refused medical service initially, went to the hospital three hours later for a headache and fell into a coma. She died the next day.

Not that I recall. It is very sad. It brings to mind Graham Hill, the only driver to win an F1 championship (twice), the Indy 500 and the 24 Hours of LeMans. He survived the most dangerous days of F1 only to die piloting a private plane. Edit: the AP story today says that Schumacher once broke his leg in a crash at Silverstone.

Richardson’s accident has some parrallels with Schumacher’s.

With Richardson, she was actually on this wide-open little bunny hill with almost no incline. She fell backwards and hit her head on the hard-packed snow. She got up and was joking about her clumsiness, and continued to ski a bit and then complained about headaches. Within an hour or so they were taking her to a hospital, and by that time the swelling inside her cranium was so bad there was little the doctors could do.

Schumacher was wearing a helmet, but also seemed to be fine after his accident. I wonder if they took him for treatment immediately, or if he waved it off. He was wearing a helmet (Richardson was not), but he was skiing off-piste (which means he was off any marked trails on the mountain). Sonny Bono was also off-trail when he was killed. The member of the Kennedy family who was killed a week or so before Bono died in a collision with a tree while looking backwards because they were throwing a football around. Which is nuts.

Apparently he was not fine after the accident - he was not responding to questions and his limbs may have been moving involuntarily. He was conscious but clearly something was wrong from the word go. All we can do is wait and hope the doctors were able to control the injuries early enough.

In other racing news, sad but at least not tragic, Andy Granatelli passed away at 90. Famous for his turbine engined cars, he won at Indy with Mario Andretti at the wheel. Rest in peace, Andy.

Ah, that sheds some light on the initial reports from his representatives that his injuries were not life-threatening. Perhaps they didn’t initially believe so, but obviously badly hurt.

In 2009 I believe it was, our little region of the state had three high school foreign exchange students die in one season in skiing accidents. Seeing it as a medical provider sucks, but I can’t imagine what it’s like for the families. One of them was similar to this and the young lady died off-mountain.

People don’t realize how subtle head injuries can be, and sometimes even providers miss it. I once had a vehicle accident with 12 people and I was the triage officer. A couple of providers were taken aback when I prioritized a girl who was t\walking about as the highest need, given that there were many with broken bones, but I’d observed that she had a high risk for intercranial hemorrhage. By the time she arrived at the hospital (~25 minutes after accident) she was decompensating, and within an hour emergency surgery had been performed to relieve the pressure on her brain.

It is amazing how subtle head injuries can be at first, and how quickly they can escalate and kill a person.

I’m also amazed at these stories of head injuries. So is internal brain hemorrhage the major risk with apparently harmless knocks on the head? Is this specific to skiing and car accidents? Can simply falling down while walking cause it?

Usually there has to be a fairly strong impact, and at just the right (or wrong, I suppose) spot.

Another famous athlete who suffered this injury was Detroit Red Wings defensemen Vladimir Konstantinov. He was riding in the back of a limousine with a teammate and a team masseur when the limo hit a tree. The teammate walked away without major injuries, but the masseur and Konstantinov were both chronically injured and both need round-the-clock nursing care now.

Triggercut is right, though the mechanism of injury is not proof positive of anything. I had one patient who fell out of a parked golf cart drunk and hit her head just “perfectly” and died shortly later, but have seen others ejected from vehicles and come out with non-critical injuries. Vigilance and observation of signs, symptoms, and trends is better for clinical indication than MOI.

Head injuries are a nasty beast. Anything that hits the right part of the head and/or whips it around enough can cause fluid membranes to rupture and other nasty stuff like that. In theory, it could happen if you fell while walking, but car accidents and skiing accidents are happening at a much higher speed (even non-pro skiiers can hit 25mph) which leads to harder hits and more chance for head injuries.

25 mph?
Hell, I’m not a pro by any means but while in uncongested slopes my ski-gps frequently puts me above 60 mph. Hitting anything at that speed is… bad. Helmet or not.

I really hope Schumacher comes out of this with all his physical and mental abilities intact. Such a great great driver and personality.

25 mph?
Hell, I’m not a pro by any means but while in uncongested slopes my ski-gps frequently puts me above 60 mph. Hitting anything at that speed is… bad. Helmet or not.

I really hope Schumacher comes out of this with all his physical and mental abilities intact. Such a great great driver and personality.

I had no idea how serious the situation is with Michael Schumacher until my wife sent me a text tonight telling me she’s sorry. I knew he had a serious accident while skiing, but I didn’t know how bad it is.

Now I understand he is in a coma and may not survive, So many Formula One fans hated the guy when he dominated and won five straight F1 Championships, but I admired him and respected his total dedication to winning.

If you ask either of my kids to this day who they are cheering for if they see a Formula 1 race on tv I guarantee they will say “the red car”.

This hurts.

I was never a big auto racing fan but he is a total badass. Link above to a story about him that I love. 100 mph in a mini van with his wife, 2 kids and new dog.

Awwww…

I hope they embellished that story a little because, racing legend or not, there is a certain level of irresponsibilty involved when your family is in the car.

Hope he gets well though!

It makes a great story until someone dies in a fiery crash like that actor who I’d never heard of before and whose name I’ve already forgotten.