Schumacher improving, still critical

Michael Schumacher's father Rolf, left, and brother Ralf arrive at Grenoble Hospital, French Alps. Photo / AP
Michael Schumacher's father Rolf, left, and brother Ralf arrive at Grenoble Hospital, French Alps. Photo / AP

There has been a "slight improvement'' in Michael Schumacher's condition, a source close to the Formula One legend said on Monday, eight days after a skiing accident left him with life-threatening injuries.

Schumacher remains critical, but doctors say there are small signs of improvement and his loved-ones hope he will pull through, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Schumacher has been in a medically induced coma since the accident on December 29 in the French ski resort of Meribel.

Earlier, doctors treating Schumacher said he remained in a stable but critical condition.

"The clinical state of Michael Schumacher is considered as stable and is being constantly monitored as he receives medical treatment,'' a statement from Grenoble's University Hospital said.

"However, the medical team in charge of his care underlines that they continue to consider Michael's condition as critical.''

The team treating Schumacher said they would be giving no details of the treatment the 45-year-old is receiving in order to protect his right to privacy.

"The privacy of the patient demands that we are not going into details of his treatment, and this is why we do not envisage any press conferences or statements in the near future.''

French prosecutors meanwhile said they would this week brief journalists on their investigation into Schumacher's accident.

A press conference will be held on Wednesday at 11am local time in the Alpine town of Albertville, local prosecutor Patrick Quincy told AFP.

Investigators are focusing on the retired racer's speed when he fell and slammed his head on a rock on a small off-piste section, prompting his evacuation by helicopter to Grenoble.

Prosecutors are also looking at whether the limits of the ski runs next to the accident site were correctly marked and whether the rock in question was lying close enough to the piste to require some kind of protection or signage.

They are also examining whether the safety releases on Schumacher's skis operated properly in a probe aimed at determining responsibility for the accident.

- AFP

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