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Michael Schumacher brain injury: Formula One icon is stable but still critical

Alessandro Bianchi / Reuters, file

Michael Schumacher skis in Jan. 2006.

Retired ex-Formula One champ Michael Schumacher was stable overnight but remained in critical condition following last weekend's ski crash that left him with a brain injury, his manager said Wednesday.

The 44-year-old German driver's condition has not changed since doctors said he showed small signs of improvement on Tuesday, according to Sabine Kehm.

"The good news for today is ... there's no significant changes," Kehm told reporters gathered outside the hospital in Grenoble, France, where Schumacher is being treated. "However, it is still very early, and the situation overall is critical."

Kehm had earlier said it looked like Schumacher hit a unseen stone while turning a corner while skiing in the French Alps on Sunday, catapulting him onto a lower rock.

Doctors treating retired race car driver Michael Schumacher were more optimistic in Tuesday's medical bulletin. Formula One's greatest champion is still in a critical condition they say, but a second surgery on his brain has led to a slight improvement. ITN's Charlotte Grant reports.

"That is extremely and very unfortunate ... really very, very bad luck," she said. "Michael was not at high speed."

Kehm said Schumacher was surrounded by his family - including his wife, daughter and son - and that there is always somebody with him.

"They are trying to support him by being by his side," Kehm said. 

The seven-time Formula One champion has undergone two brain operations and remains in a medically induced coma.

Doctors have refused to give a prognosis for Schumacher. They said they are trying to reduce swelling in his brain by keeping him in a coma and lowering his body temperature to between 93.2 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dr. Jean-Francois Payen, the doctor in charge of Grenoble University Hospital's intensive care unit, told a press conference Tuesday: "We can't say he is out of danger but ... we have gained a bit of time.."

Schumi, as his fans affectionately call him, was famously aggressive on the track and no less intense off-hours. In retirement, he remained an avid skier, skydiver and horseback rider.

He is the most successful driver in Formula One history. He achieved a record 91 race wins before retiring from racing last year after garnering an unmatched seven world titles. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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