SIENA, Italy — Italian auto racing champion turned Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi underwent a second brain surgery Monday, 10 days after an emergency operation following a crash on his handbike.
The latest surgery lasted more than two hours, and Zanardi then was returned to the intensive care unit in a medically induced coma, the Santa Maria alle Scotte Hospital in Siena said in a medical bulletin.
“His condition remains stable from a cardio-respiratory and metabolic viewpoint, grave from a neurological viewpoint,” the hospital said.
Roberto Gusinu, the hospital medical director, said, “The operation that was done represents a step that was foreseen by the medical team.”
The 53-year-old Zanardi, who lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago, has been on a ventilator since he crashed his handbike into an oncoming truck near the Tuscan town of Pienza on June 19 during a relay event.
Zanardi suffered serious facial and cranial trauma, and doctors have warned of possible brain damage.
Zanardi won four gold medals and two silvers at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. He also competed in the New York City Marathon and set an Ironman record in his class.
Last week, Pope Francis penned a handwritten letter of encouragement assuring Zanardi and his family of his prayers. The pope praised Zanardi as an example of strength amid adversity.
Defending MotoGP series champion Marc Marquez underwent a second surgery Monday after a titanium plate inserted in his fractured right arm sustained damage. The Repsol Honda Team said in a statement that it’ll be two days before the recovery period is determined.
Marquez was injured during a crash in the July 19 season opener. He underwent an initial surgery July 21 in Barcelona, and doctors said there was no nerve damage.
The eight-time champion was cleared to race in the season’s second event Jerez. But Marquez decided to skip the July 26 race after experiencing discomfort while riding the No. 93 bike in a July 25 practice.
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He had planned to race in Sunday’s grand prix at the Automotodrom Brno in the Czech Republic in hopes of returning to defend his title. His status for Sunday apparently will be unclear until at least Wednesday.
In a statement Monday, the team said the titanium plate in Marquez’s right arm successfully was replaced after stress accumulation. Marquez will stay in the hospital for two days recovering.
Dr Xavier Mir, who performed the surgery at the Hospital Universitari Dexeus, said in the release that “Marc Marquez underwent surgery 13 days ago and today he returned to the operating room. The first operation was successful, what was not expected was that the plate was insufficient. An accumulation of stress in the operated area has caused the plate to suffer some damage, so today the titanium plate has been removed and replaced by a new fixation.
“The rider has not felt pain during this period. He has always followed the medical advice given and the feeling from his body. Unfortunately, an overstress has caused this issue. Now we have to wait 48 hours to understand the recovery time.”