Michael Schumacher out of coma, leaves French hospital


The manager for Michael Schumacher has confirmed that the seven-time Formula One World Champion is no longer in a coma and has left a hospital in Grenoble, France where he has been receiving treatment since his ski accident last December.

In a statement, Sabine Kehm said the racing legend would now “continue his long phase of rehabilitation” and said that it would “take place away from the public eye.”

However, the Associated Press received confirmation that Schumacher is now at the Lausanne University Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland from a hospital spokesperson there. Schumacher and his family live in the country.

Kehm added that his family “would like to explicitly thank all his treating doctors, nurses and therapists in Grenoble as well as the first aiders at the place of the accident, who did an excellent job in those first months.”

The family also expressed its gratitude to “all the people who have sent Michael the many good wishes … We are sure it helped him.”

Schumacher suffered a severe head injury during his Dec. 29, 2013 ski accident at the Meribel resort in the French Alps after he fell and hit his head on a rock. After arriving in Grenoble, he was placed into a coma by doctors and underwent several surgeries.

In January of this year, it was announced that doctors had begun the “waking up” process for Schumacher. However, official updates had been few and far between, leading to widespread media speculation about his health.

But this morning’s news should be very heartening for his colleagues in the paddock and the millions of race fans around the world that have kept Schumacher in their thoughts since his accident.

Both Ferrari (where Schumacher won five of his seven championships) and Mercedes (where Schumacher ended his brilliant career) have called such news “encouraging” on their respective Twitter pages:

NHRA: John Force-like motor explosions get contagious during Sunday’s Gatornationals

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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John Force is rubbing off on others – but probably not the way they or he would like.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion has had spectacular motor explosions in each of the first three races of the new NHRA season, including during Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Gatornationals.

During Sunday’s quarterfinals of eliminations, Force’s teammate (and son-in-law and president of John Force Racing) Robert Hight squared off with fellow Funny Car driver Matt Hagan.

As the duo closed in on the finish line, both cars experienced spectacular motor explosions of their own – virtually side-by-side and nearly at the same time.

Hight’s car was the first to explode, tossing its body high in the air. A split-second later, Hagan’s car exploded, also sending the body flying.

Check out the NHRA video:

Hight wound up losing the race.

Hagan, meanwhile, and his crack pit crew rolled their backup car off the hauler, put in a new motor and went on to race through the semifinals and into the finals, losing to race winner “Fast Jack” Beckman.

“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest,” Hagan said. “I’ve never been to the finals in Gainesville.

“We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round, then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, then turn a win light on against Capps (Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the semifinals), then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.”

As for Hight, here’s his take on what happened with the motor explosion:

“I couldn’t see (Hagan) over there and it wasn’t like it was hazing the tires or anything else. As it turns out it wasn’t spinning at all. It kicked two rods out when it blacked the bearings in the crank then it hit the valves and blew up.

“The thing gave me no indication at all before that. What really scared me was once I got it under control and I look over and see his body is off his car. I am thinking ‘Oh man, he got gathered up in me.’ Then I stood up and looked and his injector was sideways so I realized he had an explosion as well. We are just lucky we didn’t get into each other.”

As for the guy who has had so much trouble in the motor department, John Force, he lost in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations to daughter Courtney Force.

John Force planned on shutting the motor off on his car at around the 700-foot mark of the 1,000-foot dragstrip, not wanting to risk another motor explosion – even though it meant a likely loss to his daughter.

Now John Force and his entire four-car team, including Courtney Force, Robert Hight and daughter and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, will be off for extensive testing to try and determine what’s been causing the motor explosions.

“We have to evaluate it and go test,” Force said. “We’ll figure it out.”

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