Former Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher is able to recognise his wife and two children, a year after he sustained severe head injuries in a skiing accident, a friend has said.
Philippe Streiff, also a former Formula One driver, suggested in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper on Sundaythat Schumacher might eventually walk again with the help of crutches. It was the most optimistic assessment since a doctor who had treated the multiple world champion in hospital in Grenoble told the media two months ago that he had made “some progress”.
Streiff said the 45-year-old was improving and was conscious. “But he hasn’t yet recovered the power of speech, and communicates with his eyes. Nevertheless he is beginning to recognise his family, his wife and his children, but has big memory problems,” he said.
Streiff, who has used a wheelchair since a racing accident in 1989, was among those to visit Schumacher while he spent six months in an induced coma at a hospital in Grenoble. He regained consciousness in June.
Schumacher was moved to hospital in Lausanne, and from there to the family home on the Swiss shore of lake Geneva for rehabilitation in September. Doctors, however, remain cautious about his chances of recovery, and his family has asked for privacy. Schumacher was skiing in Méribel, the French Alps, on 29 December last year when he fell. His helmet broke from the impact.