Medics confirm helmet saved Schumacher’s life in ski fall

motor-racing legend Michael Schumacher would not have survived his skiing accident if he had not been wearing a helmet, medics have confirmed.

Doctors said the star was still fighting for his life in a critical condition after undergoing surgery for a head injury he sustained while skiing off-piste in France.

The 44-year-old seven-time Formula One champion is now in an induced coma in intensive care.

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At a news conference yesterday doctors said the injury was “particularly serious” and added he would “certainly not” have survived had it not been for his helmet. He had been skiing with his son at the resort of Meribel.

Professor Jean Francois Payen, head of anaesthetics at the clinic where Schumacher is being treated, said there were no plans to carry out a second operation but added: “For the moment we are not able to express ourselves with regards to Michael Schumacher’s future.”

Professor Stephan Chabardes, the neurosurgeon who operated on Schumacher, said he had blood clots - bruising and swelling of the brain.

The hospital said that Schumacher was being kept in a state of hypothermia by controlling his temperature to keep it at 34C-35C (93.2F-95F). He is under general anaesthetic.

The German has received an outpouring of support from the racing world, including from British F1 former world champion Jenson Button. “My thoughts are with Michael Schumacher at this tough time. Michael, more than anyone, has the strength to pull through this,” he tweeted.

Schumacher’s injuries have caused particular shock in his native Germany. Boris Becker called on Twitter for prayers for a “full and speedy recovery”.

German chancellor Angela Merkel said she was “extremely shocked along with millions of Germans” to learn of the accident.