Report: Michael Schumacher feared to be in permanent coma

Photo: Micha Will/Bongarts/Getty Images

Lack of news from the hospital where Michael Scumacher remains has caused many to fear the worst.

(SI.com) -- The U.K.'s Daily Mail online has reported a growing concern that Michael Schumacher may never come out of his coma. The retired Formula One legend, 44, who suffered severe head injuries in a skiing accident at a French Alps resort on Dec. 29, has been in a medically induced, unconscious state for 18 days.

The fears for his future are being fueled by German publications that have interviewed brain injury experts whose forecasts are dire.

According to the experts, a patient who is put in an artificial coma, which helps the brain recover more quickly, is usually brought out of it after one to two weeks. Schumacher, who also had surgery on his skull to relieve cranial pressure caused by brain swelling, reportedly has not recovered enough to make doctors plan to wake him. The longer a coma lasts, the greater the damage it indicates, and it is possible that Schumacher could remain in that state for the rest of his life.

He is also at risk for a number of complications including cerebral hemorrhage, increasing cranial pressure, loss of muscle, and stress on his liver caused by the continual anesthesia.

The lack of updates or progress reports from his medical team and management has added to the alarm.

Schumacher remains in critical condition at a hospital in Grenoble, France, where his wife and two children are holding a constant vigil.

You can read the Daily Mail story here.

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