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EXCLUSIVE: Schumacher's 'progress is uncertain' as care costs spiral

But for his anxious family and friends, there is still no guarantee that the 46-year-old superstar of motor racing will ever make it back to normal.

His family have imposed a total news blackout on the care he is receiving at his Swiss mansion home on the shores of Lake Geneva. 

Yet it is known that he remains mute with "limited awareness" of his environment and is also still unable to walk.

"Progress is painfully slow," said an insider.

"There is no miracle on the horizon."

He is cared for around the clock by a 15-strong medical team advised by Professor Jean-Francois Payen who operated on his brain blood clots after his catastrophic ski accident at Meribel on December 29 2013.

Professor Payen remains in constant contact with the family and medical team wherever he is in the world.

One of his main tasks is managing the expectations of wife Corinna and Schumacher children Mick, 15, and Gina-Maria, 17.

"What tortures the public is the same thing that tortures the family ? progress is slow, progress is uncertain," said Peter Hamlyn, a consultant neurological and spinal surgeon and expert in the field of head injuries in sport.

Hamlyn successfully treated brain-damaged boxer Michael Watson after being knocked down by fellow Briton Chris Eubank in a world title fight in 1991.

"If you look at severe head injury victims who go on to make a good recovery ? and I'm not saying all do ? it will always be a story of years," he added.

"The first months are dominated by questions of survival. Gradually as the weeks and months go by those questions of survival turn into questions of the quality of survival.

"It's a rollercoaster and if Michael Schumacher's rollercoaster takes him and his family somewhere happy then they will have been to places that will have been pretty unhappy on the way there.

"But I know they will have been buoyed by all the support that has been voiced."

Professor Payen recently expressed particular admiration for Corinna saying: "She has displayed in every way an exceptional willpower. She knew the seriousness of the situation and the long road that lay before them. She looks at things very clearly and makes every effort, and gives everything, which can help to improve the condition of her husband." 

Formula One legend Schumacher suffered severe head injuries while skiing off-piste with his son in the French Alps.

The accident ? which would have killed him without a helmet ? left the seven-time World Champion with brain damage and he was put in a medically-induced coma for almost six months.

Schumacher has now awoken from the coma, but a complete media-blackout around the racer's recovery means details on his condition are sparse.

His team of medical experts are treating Schumacher in a special clinic, built in the grounds of his Swiss home.

Special tents have been erected to prevent paparazzi photographing the star outside in his wheelchair.

The tailored medical facilities also has a room for the driver's father ? who has moved from Germany to be close to his son.

Each day, Schumacher is massaged for hours in an effort to stimulate muscle mass and is assessed every hour for improvements.

Paying tribute to his dear friend, Lewis Hamilton wrote to him: "Dear Michael, You are always in my prayers. Prayers of hope that you pull through this difficult time."

Jenson Button said: "When I think of Michael Schumacher I think of two things. 

"The first is one of my earliest memories of being in Formula 1 driving out of the pit lane in Melbourne and seeing Michael’s red Ferrari ahead of me scattering the leaves as he drove beneath the trees at the approach to turn three. 

"The second thing I think about is that familiar red car snaking about in my mirrors. Michael was such a formidable racer... relentlessly competitive. Always there for him."

Express
14/02
7 Points
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