by Amna El Tawil
Michael Schumacher is one of the most beloved sports personalities of all times. He dominated the F1 world and became a legend. Millions of boys around the world looked up to him, wanted to be him when they grow up. Many F1 drivers point out their childhood hero was Michael, the guy who was a crowned champion of F1 seven times.
Three years ago the world was shocked when the news broke out about a severe skiing injury. Schumacher was holidaying with friends and family in the French Alps when he suffered a ‘severe head injury’ while skiing on 29 December 2013. He was airlifted to Grenoble Hospital requiring ‘immediate neurosurgical intervention’ and underwent two life-saving operations. Schumacher remained in a coma, with doctors describing his condition as ‘extremely serious’ the day after his admission.
His former colleagues, retired and active F1 drivers, even his biggest rivals prayed to hear good news again, news that would announce his miraculous recovery, that Schumacher is okay. While he is still alive, he’s far from okay, unfortunately.
News became scarce after the immediate aftermath of the accident, with the Schumacher family’s next statement coming in April 2014. They said the former F1 champ had shown ‘moments of consciousness and awakening’. Three months followed before it was released that Schumacher was no longer in a coma and had left Grenoble Hospital. It was confirmed three months after that that the legend had been transferred from Lausanne Hospital to the family home on the shores of Lake Geneva. The statement said: “Henceforth, Michael’s rehabilitation will take place at his home. Considering the severe head injuries he suffered, progress has been made in the past weeks and months. There is still, however, a long and difficult road ahead.”
The first pictures of Schumacher since the accident were touted around European media outlets for £1million earlier this month, with police launching an investigation into how the photographs were taken from the German’s home in Geneva, Switzerland.
The former team principal, Ross Brawn, told The Guardian: “We go see him and hope and pray that one day he will make a recovery. I was quoted as saying he’s improving and it was not what I really meant. The family is conducting his convalescence in private and I need to respect that. So I don’t want to comment on his condition beyond saying we’re extremely hopeful we’ll see Michael as we knew him at some point in the future.”
In September, Schumacher’s lawyer outlined his client’s injuries in court after an article in German magazine Bunte claimed the 47-year-old could walk again. Bunte’s report featured a comment from an unnamed friend of Schumacher’s, who said: “Michael is very thin. But he can once again walk a little with the help of his therapists. He manages to make a couple of steps. And he can also raise an arm.”
Schumacher’s manager, Sabine Kehm, said: “Michael’s health is not a public issue, and so we will continue to make no comment in that regard.”
Further commentary: While everyone knows about Schumacher’s accident, little is known about all the details. That’s perfectly understandable, his family wishes to preserve the privacy. Unfortunately, media representatives act like vultures who disrespect not only this legend but his family at the same time and try to do everything they can do get at least some info about his current state. End of commentary
Michael Schumacher might be in bad condition and out of F1 world physically, but his presence will always be felt with his outstanding legacy. The German racing driver has been credited with helping to lay the foundations for Mercedes’ three years of dominance which culminated in two world titles for Lewis Hamilton in 2014 and 2015 and a first for Schumacher’s compatriot Nico Rosberg in 2016.
Ross Brawn told CNN: “Michael, for sure, contributed to the organization and structure that has gone on to achieve success at Mercedes. He helped create the success we had at Ferrari and he continued that approach at Mercedes. With his knowledge and maturity, sitting with a group of aerodynamicists or vehicle dynamists or tire people and explaining what was needed was invaluable. He was instrumental in creating the systems that contribute to the success that Mercedes has today.”
Stepping into his father’s footsteps, Michael’s son Mick also aspires to be an F1 legend. The teenager finished runner-up in the Italian and German Formula 4 championships with the influential Prema Powerteam. The plan is to step up to Formula 3 in 2017, although that has not yet been confirmed. Mick posted a photo on Instagram posing with new world champion Rosberg which had the cheeky caption: “Big congratulations Nico, also wanted to let you know that I will soon take over that trophy …”
The most important evidence of Schumacher’s legacy is the incredible racing statistics.
(Photo credit: Screenshot/F1 Fansite)
Let’s not forget Michael’s charity work. Besides his champion attitude and status of F1 legend, Schumacher was strongly involved in humanitarian work. Here are some examples of his charitable work.
The former Ferrari driver is a Special Envoy for Education and Sport and donated €1.5 million to the organization.
In a 2002 interview with the organization, he explained his dedication to funding projects: “I really want to help the ones people don’t know about. Nowadays, certain projects attract lots of donors. Then there are others you never hear about. Those are the ones I’m interested in.”
In 2002, Schumacher funded the construction of a school in a poor slum in Dakar, the capital of the West African state of Senegal.
In 1997, Schumacher opened a clinic for child victims of the Balkans War. The clinic provides artificial limbs for amputees as well as psychological support.
In 2002, he funded the construction of a ‘Palace for the Poor’ in Lima, Peru which caters for homeless children and provides education, food and medical treatment for street children.
Along with his two sons, Schumacher’s bodyguard lost his life in in the 2004 Tsunami following the Indian Ocean earthquake. Schumi donated over €7 million in aid which meant that he gave more money than many individual countries, sports entities and organizations.
He is also a founder member of ICM, the Brain & Spine Institute. It is a research center bringing together patients, physicians, and researchers, to produce a rapid treatment of lesions affecting the nervous system and to apply them to patients in the speediest possible way.
Moreover, Schumacher supports FIA’s Action for Road Safety, Make Roads Safe Again etc.
Further commentary: Thanks to his numerous victories, kindness, intelligence, and involvement into all segments of the F1 world, Schumacher’s absence is evident which all lovers of F1 can confirm. We can only hope that one day, we see Michael Schumacher in the stands watching all the action during F1 races, supporting his son. End of commentary