Michael Schumacher faded away from the public view after his skiing accident in December 2013 and since then, only a few details came out on the racing champion's health status. The latest medical update on the German driver was provided by Dr. Erich Riederer and it was not comforting at all for Schumacher's fans.
The Swiss physician appeared on a documentary film in September and he painted a picture of Schumacher that is completely removed from the conquering sportsman who dominated the racing tracks seven times in the past. Dr. Riederer said the Schumacher that the world knew is long gone.
Schumacher was thought to be paralyzed as a result of the head injury he suffered more than six years ago. According to Dr. Riederer, it's difficult to imagine that the 51-year-old will be his old self again.
"I think he's in a vegetative state, which means he's awake but not responding. He is breathing, his heart is beating, he can probably sit up and take baby steps with help, but no more," the Express reported the physician as saying.
The doctor he added he is convinced Schumacher has reached the maximum of his recovery and rehabilitation. The patient is unlikely to progress any further, and that means things will never be the same again for the German celebrity.
Another medical expert, Dr. Nicola Acciari, backed the assessment offered by Dr. Riederer. The neurosurgeon confirmed that due to brain trauma, Schumacher now is "very altered."
It's quite likely that the race driver has a "deteriorated muscular and skeletal structure." These changes are typical for patients with the same situation as Schumacher, Dr. Acciari said.
While these depictions from health experts may be discouraging, friends and family members of the Formula One icon have consistently stated that Schumacher is fighting to make full recovery soon. And they continue to appeal for the public to respect the athlete's privacy.
Now fellow German and F1 racer Sebastian Vettel is taking heed and would rather discuss Schumacher's greatness while in the driver's seat. Vettel weighed in on the raging GOAT debate considering Lewis Hamilton's impressive 91 racing victories that matched Schumacher's record.
"I think he was better than anybody else I've ever seen so far. I think he had a natural talent that is very difficult to explain," The Sun reported Vettel as saying.
Paired with Schumacher's legendary work ethic, Vettel said his boyhood idol has the innate ability to score stunning wins in successions and that should make him the greatest of all time. Hamilton though is fast catching up as the Brit already owns six world titles and is expected to add more.