What got Schumacher through his coma?

Michael Schumacher no longer requires the level of attention he was receiving at Grenoble Hospital, and was checked out yesterday morning.

His manager and spokesperson stated “Michael has left the CHU Grenoble to continue his long phase of rehabilitation. He is not in a coma anymore.”

With the news of the 7 time world champion being transferred back to Switzerland to begin rehabilitation, came a wave of overwhelmingly positive messages from former colleagues and friends within a the F1 community.

Former title rival Fernando Alonso took to twitter to unload his relief, posting the message “Good start of the week with the news of Michael! So happy this is going in the good direction!”

Alonso coined his message with the recurring supportive hashtag ‘KeepFightingMichael.’

But as Formula 1’s most successful driver emerges from his coma after nearly half a year, questions of just how he managed to win his hardest battle begin to emerge.

“Even if – as seemed likely – Mr Schumacher had returned to ‘minimal consciousness,’ the statistics were against him” said Dr Gary Hartstein – who worked as one of Formula 1’s chief medical personnel until 2012.

Statistically, Michael Schumacher should not have woken up.

As has always been the case with Schumacher though, he defied the odds to come out on top. But what exactly got the German superstar through his coma?

Michael Schumacher’s relentlessness and sheer determination is legendary – anybody who disbelieves this observation for so much as a second can look to Damon Hill, who raced in direct competition with Schumacher in 1994. During the Spanish Grand Prix that year, Schumacher claimed his first victory of the season. His achievement was, however, overshadowed by Schumacher’s display of monumental perseverance, as he dragged his car across the line to finish in second position – despite being stuck in fifth gear for nearly three quarters of the race.

Schumacher went on to continue his winning ways two weeks later with a stunning pole to win conversion in Montreal.

Despite taking a colossal 91 victories in his F1 career, his ostensibly less remarkable results like that of Spain in 1994 rank amongst his greatest of all.

Similarly, his final Ferrari campaign at the Brazilian Grand Prix of 2006 saw him climb the field, only to be relegated to the back after a puncture, and then bulldoze back past his adversaries to finish a fantastic fourth. The conclusion we can draw from these two situations is that Michael Schumacher does not understand the concept of submission. He doesn’t give up.

Such an enormous quantity of self-belief, motivation and determination almost certainly aided him significantly in his 168 day coma battle.

But whilst there public, on-track performances are no doubt impressive, the most notable of positive factors would have certainly been his family.

Love is an exceptionally powerful motivator, and anyone who has observed the blinding infatuation in Corinna Schumacher’s eyes as she gazed at her husband of 18 years would know in a heartbeat that the intensity of the bond between the former saleswoman and her superstar partner knows no limits.

The couple married in August 1995 – immediately before Schumacher Ferrari career took off. As a result, Corinna endured partnering her F1 driver husband throughout almost his entire two decade career. Despite this, Corinna has made herself more open to publicity in these past six months than the entire two decades before, combined.

Why? Because she has been at her husband’s bedside every single day, from day one, to day one hundred and sixty-eight.


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