World anxious as man of motion is brought to temporary standstill

World anxious as man of motion is brought to temporary standstill

Ships, it has been wisely noted, are "safe in a harbour, but that is not what ships are for".

Michael Schumacher, it might be similarly said, is safe while lolling in his drawing room, but that is not what he is on this planet for.

His mission is motion.

Ironically, even when sitting down - the position required by his profession - he was always on the move.

Then, race over, he leaped onto podiums and out of planes, he ascended into history and bounded onto motorcycles.

The only time he seemed to stop was to change his method of conveyance.

It is why this image of Schumacher in a coma, in a bed, at a standstill, is a discordant one.

It is like Spiderman with no webbing left, it is like a tightrope walker with vertigo.

It is a man out of his element and an athlete not in control.

A champion who flirted with danger is now in it, leading TV commentator Martin Brundle to tweet: "Come on Michael, give us one of those race stints at pure qualifying pace to win through, like you used to. You can do it."

Head injuries are immediately alarming and no precise prognosis is available.

Yet this much we know: If given the chance, Schumacher will fight for his life for he is conditioned to do so.

Struggle is the athlete's hymn.

Footballers struggle with injury, boxers with slurring speech, gymnasts with confidence, a UFC fighter with the pain of a bent shin.

But like Muhammad Ali, who is afflicted with Parkinson's disease, they all push on for stubbornness is their finest weapon.

If the great driver emerges from a coma, in his lucid moments he might think: No hard tarmac track of hot rubber could fell me and neither will some cold slope of snow.

When the accident occurred, Schumacher was where he wanted to be: in his giant playground, which is the outdoor planet.

He is a cigar-smoking, poker-playing fellow, who once admitted to an escaped tear while watching Slumdog Millionaire, yet he is not quite a sedentary creature.

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