Michael Schumacher showing 'small, encouraging signs'

Story highlights

  • Michael Schumacher showing "small, encouraging signs"
  • Schumacher's family is confident he "will wake up"
  • German is in a medically induced coma after suffering a severe head injury
  • Schumacher manager repeats call for German's family to given privacy

Michael Schumacher might be in a medically induced coma but the Formula One great has shown enough "small, encouraging signs" to give his family confidence that he will "wake up."

The 45-year-old suffered a severe head injury while skiing on December 29 in the French Alps.

"We are and remain confident that Michael will pull through and will wake up," said Michael Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehn in a statement Wednesday.

"There sometimes are small, encouraging signs, but we also know that this is the time to be very patient."

Germany's seven-time world champion was placed into a medically-induced coma to help reduce swelling on the brain after the accident.

Schumacher has had two operations to relieve pressure on his brain and to remove haematomas at Grenoble Hospital, France.

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He retired from F1 in 2012 following a record-breaking 19-year career. He had been skiing off-piste when he fell and hit his head against a rock.

"Michael has suffered severe injuries," added Kehn. "It is very hard to comprehend for all of us that Michael, who had overcome a lot of precarious situations in the past, has been hurt so terribly in such a banal situation.

Why induced comas help injured brains

"It was clear from the start that this will be a long and hard fight for Michael. We are taking this fight on together with the team of doctors, whom we fully trust. The length of the process is not the important part for us."

Over the last few months, Kehn has often asked the media to show respect for the privacy of Schumacher's family and she repeated that call in her statement.

"It is heart-warming to see how much sympathy his family is shown and I can say that the family is extremely grateful for it.

"However, it should not be forgotten that Michael's family is dealing with an extremely intimate and fragile situation.

"And I would like to remind all of us that Michael has always actively kept his family out of the public eye and consequently protected their private lives.

"We try to channel all the energies we have toward Michael and we firmly believe that this will help him. And we believe that he will also win this fight."

Schumacher, who won five consecutive titles with Ferrari between 2000-04, also claimed two drivers' championships at Benetton in 1994 and 1995.

The 2014 F1 season starts this weekend in Australia.

Family 'strongly believe' he will recover