Former Formula One racer Michael Schumacher has been in a coma for a month. (AP Photo/Victor Caivano, File)
The manager for former Formula One champion Michael Schumacher says that doctors have begun the process of bringing Schumacher out of a month-long coma after a skiing accident, reports the Associated Press.
His manager, Sabine Kehm, said in a statement Thursday that "Michael's sedation is being reduced in order to allow the start of the waking up process, which may take a long time."
Schumacher, 45, was skiing in the French Alpine resort of Meribel on Dec. 29 when he fell and hit the right side of his head on a rock.
Surgeons performed two operations to remove blood clots from his brain, and Schumacher has been in an induced coma at a hospital in France.
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"This is a test to see what his function is like," said Dr. Anthony Strong, an emeritus chair in neurosurgery at King's College London. "He said that once the sedatives wear off, Schumacher's doctors would see if he can breathe on his own and if he responds to mild pain stimulus, like gentle pressing on his eyebrows.
"Doctors will want to see if he can say `hello,' if he probe his recollection of events and to see if he can recognize family members and remember his own identity," Strong said. If Schumacher doesn't respond to their voice, they will also look to see if he tries to pull out any of the tubes in him or rip the dressing off his wounds - which would be a sign that he is aware of where he is.