Giampiero Sposito / Reuters file
Michael Schumacher waves to supporters following a practice session for the Italian Grand Prix on Sept. 10, 2004.
GRENOBLE, France -- Doctors treating Michael Schumacher refused Monday to predict the outcome for the former Formula One driver, saying they were taking his very critical head injury "hour by hour" following his ski accident.
Chief anesthesiologist Jean-Francois Payen told reporters that the seven-time champion is still in a medically induced coma. He said the medical team was focusing only on his current condition.
"We cannot predict the future for Michael Schumacher," Payen said. "It's too soon to talk about."
Schumacher, who is the most successful driver in Formula One history, arrived at the Grenoble University Hospital Center a day earlier already in a coma and immediately underwent brain surgery. Payen said he remains in critical condition, with severe bruising on his brain.
Racing legend Michael Schumacher was critically injured after hitting his head on a rock while skiing with his son in the French Alps. NBC's Kristen Dahlgren reports.
On Sunday morning, the German driver was skiing with his son in the French Alpine resort of Meribel when he fell and hit his head on a rock. He was wearing a helmet at the time, but the doctors said it was clearly not sufficient to prevent a serious brain injury.
"Someone who had suffered this accident without a helmet would not have made it this far," Payen said.
The area where Schumacher was skiing is part of a web of trails that slice down through a vast and, in parts, very steep snowfield. Although challenging, the snowfield is not extreme skiing: The runs are broad and neatly tended, and the ungroomed area in between, known as off-piste, is free of trees.
Schumacher was conscious when first responders arrived on the scene, although agitated and in shock, according to the resort. He was first airlifted to a local hospital and then later brought to Grenoble for more extensive treatment.
Schumacher has been seriously hurt before. He broke his leg in a crash at Silverstone race course in 1999. He also suffered serious neck and spine injuries after a motorcycling accident in February 2009 in Spain.
As news of the accident spread, Formula One drivers rushed to wish Schumacher a quick recovery.
Sebatian Vettel, who was once referred to as "Baby Schumi," told German news agency dpa: "I am shocked and hope that he will get better as soon as possible."
His former Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa, who himself recovered from life-threatening head injuries sustained at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2009, wrote on Instagram: "I am praying for you my brother!! I hope you have a quick recovery!! God bless you Michael."
During his career, Schumacher had seven drivers' championships and 91 race wins. After initial success with the Benetton team, Schumacher moved to Ferrari and helped turn the Italian team into the sport's dominant force. After initially retiring in 2006, he made a comeback in 2010 and raced for three years with Mercedes.
Laurent Cipriani / AP
Professor Jean-Francois Payen answers questions during a press conference on Michael Schumacher's condition in Grenoble, France, on Monday.
This story was originally published on Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:47 AM EST