Michael Schumacher is ‘conscious’ after being admitted to a Paris hospital for stem-cell treatment on Monday, a report claims.
The seven-time Formula One champion was admitted under tight guard to the Georges-Pompidou hospital for transfusions of inflammation-reducing stem cells.
The 50-year-old German, who suffered a near-fatal brain injury in a 2013 skiing accident in the French Alps, was expected to be discharged late yesterday.
A nurse told Le Parisien: ‘Yes he is in my service … And I can assure you that he is conscious.’
Following the accident, Schumacher’s condition stabilised after he was placed in a drug-induced coma, from which he later emerged.
Since September 2014, he has received round the clock specialist care at his home in Lausanne, Switzerland, on the banks of Lake Geneva.
Le Parisien, citing sources it did not name, said Schumacher has been treated at least twice previously at the Georges-Pompidou hospital, admitted each time under a false name and treated by a small medical team.
It is understood Professor Philippe Menasché was due to treat Schumacher with ‘infusions of stem cells’ which are designed to produce a ‘systemic anti-inflammatory action.’
He was taken to a first-floor cardiovascular unit on a gurney with a dark-blue covering that hid his face and body.
The paper said about ten security agents, some equipped with earphones, watched over the patient.
Professor Menasche said details of Schumacher’s treatment would remain ‘secret’ for reasons of medical confidentiality.
On the two previous visits, Schumacher arrived by helicopter from Switzerland and landed at a heliport in Issy-les-Moulineaux, near Paris.
During his first stay in Paris, the patient underwent tests at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital, but key work by Professor Menache was postponed.
Schumacher’s spokeswoman Sabine Kehm declined to comment on the development.
Schumacher was off-piste in Méribel with his son Mick – who now races in F2 – when he fell on December 29, 2013.
He hit the right side of his head on a rock, splitting open his helmet.
Doctors worked frantically to remove blood clots from his brain, but some were left because they were too deeply embedded.
Schumacher has been recuperating at home in Switzerland since and is visited only by close friends, none of whom have divulged specifics about his state of health.
UK’s Sportsmail reported last December that although he is making slow progress, if any at all, Schumacher is not bed-ridden or living day by day on tubes.
He watches F1 races on television, including with his friend and former Ferrari boss Jean Todt, the FIA president.
He is understood to be confined to a wheelchair but the specific state of his health remains private.
In January the world celebrated his 50th birthday on social media, and the family made a rare announcement.
They wrote on Instagram: ‘Please understand if we are following Michael’s wishes and keeping such a sensitive subject as health, as it has always been, in privacy.’
They confirmed that Schumacher was in ‘the very best of hands’.
The wall of secrecy, enforced at the request of his wife Corinna, was established to protect one of the biggest names in modern sporting times.
Schumacher’s family is right to conceal his medical condition, Formula One’s Head of Motorsport, Ross Brawn, has said.
Brawn is one of only a handful of people to have visited the stricken driver as he recovers alongside his family in Switzerland.
Brawn, who helped mastermind Schumacher’s success at Benetton and Ferrari, and has visited the former champion in Switzerland.
‘I am constantly in touch with Corinna, and I totally agree with their decision,’ he said.
‘Michael has always been a very private person and that’s been a guiding principle in his career, his life and his family always agreed with that choice.
‘It’s completely understandable that Corinna has wanted to maintain the same approach, even after the tragic event, and it’s a decision we must all respect.
‘I’m sure the millions of people who are still Michael fans will understand it, too.’
Schumacher remains motor racing’s most successful driver, with a record 91 Grand Prix wins. He won his first two titles with Benetton in 1994 and 1995 before five in a row with Ferrari between 2000-2004.
Schumacher’s family fiercely protects his privacy. Thick forest around his castle-like home and high surrounding walls provide sanctuary from fan and media intrusion.