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F1 legend Michael Schumacher in coma after skiing accident

Schumacher was reportedly skiing "off-piste" along with his 14-year-old son at the time of the accident

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Retired Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher has suffered a cranial trauma and is a coma after having hit his head on a rock while skiing, Grenoble hospital officials said on Sunday.

The 44-year-old German racing star "was suffering a serious brain trauma with coma on his arrival, which required an immediate neurosurgical operation," a statement read out to reporters at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire hospital said. "He remains in a critical condition."

Mountain police in the region said they had reached Schumacher shortly after the accident and was airlifted to the hospital in Moutiers, closest to the Meribel resort, where Schumacher had been skiing within 10 minutes of the accident.

Christophe Gernigon-Lecompte, director of the resort, said Schumacher had been wearing a helmet and was "conscious but a little agitated." He was subsequently airlifted to the hospital in Grenoble.

Schumacher was skiing "off-piste" along with his 14-year-old son at the time of the accident, according to British and German media reports.

On the subject of Schumacher's head injury - Jean-Luc Trowel, professor of neurology, told French TV: “What is possible is that there is a worsening after the first minutes. There are opportunities for aggravation if a haematoma or cerebral edema develops."

He said the priority was to see clinical doctors and subsequently be assessed by a scanner and MRI.

“It can accurately determine whether or not to do surgery," he said.

“The news is a long time coming because the establishment of a prognosis in the early hours is very difficult. Often, physicians and surgeons are quite reserved."

Michael Schumacher faces the prospect of months of rehabilitation following his head injury.

Fans and celebrities have taken to social media to express their best wishes for Schumacher.

Hospital sources say that the Formula 1 legend's wife, Corinna and son, Mick, 14, with whom he was skiing when he fell, and daughter Gina-Marie are all at his bedside, the Mirror reported.