It has been more than two years since Michael Schumacher sustained severe brain injuries following a skiing accident in the French Alps. The seven times world champion spent several months in an induced coma in Grenoble hospital before being moved to a hospital in Lausanne. In September 2014 he was finally moved to his Switzerland home where he receives round the clock medical attention.
Since then, by the family’s request, little information has been shared about Schumacher’s condition. While some close friends, such as former Ferrari colleagues Jean Todt and Ross Brawn, have visited Schumacher no definitive report has been released on his recovery or condition. Instead, Todt and Brawn, have made the occasional statement that he “is still fighting.”
Sabine Kehm, the official spokesperson for the Schumacher family, has repeatedly warned that only official statements, from her, be accepted. Recently, she’s quashed rumours that the former champion is able to walk as “irresponsible and offering false hope.” It’s safe to assume, from the way that she intervened to dismiss these rumours that Schumacher is likely in the same condition and making, at best, slow progress.
It’s a question that most people ask when the subject is Formula 1 – how is Michael Schumacher? The truth is that only a few people know the answer to this question and they aren’t sharing it. Some feel entitled to news on his condition and it’s not unreasonable that they do. An argument could be made for releasing sporadic statements. Perhaps even one a year could put an end to any speculation on Schumacher’s condition.
However, not even this is likely to satisfy some circles of the media. The inevitable course of events that would ensue is the likely reason for the family remaining silent. In a society where respect and ethics are rare commodities it will undoubtedly prompt tabloids to analyse every word, hire so-called experts to comment and ultimately prompt more speculation.
Most recently, a statement by former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has prompted a fresh batch of speculation. Montezemolo was quoted as saying that he has “no good news” about Michael Schumacher. “I have news of him continuously and it is not good,” he said. It is puzzling why the former Ferrari boss would make such a statement which has given rise to new-found conjecture. He surely knows the family’s position on sharing information.
Most of the interest in Schumacher’s condition is born from a place of genuine concern and not morbidity. But the best that Michael’s legions of fans can do is to respect the family’s wishes for privacy. And accept that if there was anything to share that they would do so. Until then, keep fighting Michael.