Schumacher still in 'critical condition': hospital

Schumacher still in 'critical condition': hospital
A picture shows the chalet, in the centre, reportedly owned by German retired Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, in a private hamlet in the French ski resort of Meribel, French Alps, on December 30, 2013.

GRENOBLE, France - Michael Schumacher, the retired seven-time Formula One champion, was in "critical condition" on Monday after suffering severe brain trauma in a skiing accident in the French Alps, doctors said.

The German racing legend, who turns 45 at the end of the week, had been skiing off-piste Sunday with his 14-year-old son in the upmarket Meribel resort when he fell and hit his head on a rock.

Doctors at the hospital in the southeastern city of Grenoble where he is being treated said it was still too early to make a prognosis on the famous patient.

"He is in critical condition. He is in intensive care, his condition is very serious," Jean-Francois Payen, head of the intensive care unit, told reporters.

Stephan Chabardes, the professor who operated on Schumacher, said the former racer arrived in hospital on Sunday in an agitated state and was not able to answer questions.

His condition "rapidly deteriorated" and he fell into a coma, he told reporters.

Payen said he was operated on and put into an artificial coma, adding he had been partially protected by his helmet.

"If someone had had this type of accident without a helmet, they would definitely not be here," he said.

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