Michael Schumacher
Source: Netflix

Michael Schumacher Suffered a Horrific Injury During a Skiing Accident in December 2013

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Sep. 17 2021, Published 9:53 a.m. ET

The new Netflix documentary Schumacher takes a fresh look at the life and work of the wonderboy of Formula 1 auto racing. Featuring interviews, home movie footage, and archive materials, the nearly two-hour-long picture focuses on Michael Schumacher's family relationships and career highlights, with a particular focus on his life before the 2013 skiing accident. So, what happened?

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Here's what happened to Michael Schumacher.

Born on Jan. 3, 1969, in Hürth, Germany, Michael started go-kart racing when he was 4 or 5 years old, per The Guardian. His father, Rolf, worked as a go-kart manager and bricklayer. It was he who introduced Michael to the thrilling world of racing. During his two-decade-long career, Michael won seven world championship titles and 91 Grand Prix trophies. But what happened to him in 2013?

Michael Schumacher
Source: Netflix
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Michael announced his retirement several times — but he only went through with the plans in 2012. A year later, in Dec. 2013, he suffered a horrific accident during a skiing trip to Méribel in the French Alps. The tragedy occurred between 10:50 and 11 a.m. local time. Michael went off-piste, speeding through the track before falling and hitting his head on a rock. It's widely believed that the helmet he wore saved his life.

He was airlifted to a hospital, where he underwent immediate brain surgery. The doctors placed him in a medical coma aimed to reduce the swelling of his brain, which is thought to have lasted for around six months.

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"We judge him to be in a very serious situation," chief anesthesiologist Jean-Francois Payen said at a news conference at the time held at the Grenoble University Hospital Centre, per ABC News. "We cannot tell what the outcome will be yet. We are working hour by hour, but it's too early to say what is going to happen and to have a prognosis."

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"We think his helmet did help; without a helmet, he wouldn't be here now," he added. "He is in a critical state in terms of cerebral resuscitation. We are working hour by hour."

He was moved from the Grenoble University Hospital Centre in France to the Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland in June 2014, after he was lifted from a coma. Michael was discharged from the hospital one year later — but the battle was far from over. He was moved to the Schumacher family home near Lake Geneva, Switzerland.

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Michael Schumacher
Source: Netflix

"Considering the severe injuries he suffered, progress has been made in the past weeks and months," Michael's manager, Sabine Kehm, wrote in a statement shared with The Guardian in Sept. 2014. "We would like to extend our gratitude to the entire team at CHUV Lausanne [Lausanne University Hospital] for their thorough and competent work."

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Michael's wife, Corinna, put up their Lausanne home for sale in 2021. The family bought a mansion in Majorca, Spain, a while back. It's understood that they continue to spend time there. By 2020, Michael reportedly reached the point in his recovery where he was able to communicate with his eyes.

Schumacher is available on Netflix now.

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