'Small, encouraging signs' in Schumacher condition - agent

PARIS Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:25am GMT

File photo of Michael Schumacher as he looks on during a news conference at the end of the official presentation of the new Ferrari Formula One race car 248 F1 at the Mugello racetrack in Scarperia, central Italy, January 24, 2006. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

File photo of Michael Schumacher as he looks on during a news conference at the end of the official presentation of the new Ferrari Formula One race car 248 F1 at the Mugello racetrack in Scarperia, central Italy, January 24, 2006.

Credit: Reuters/Tony Gentile

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PARIS (Reuters) - There are small signs of encouragement in Michael Schumacher's condition but the most successful former Formula One champion of all time faces a long fight to recover after suffering severe head injuries in a skiing accident, his agent said on Wednesday.

"We are and remain confident that Michael will pull through and will wake up," his agent and spokeswoman, Sabine Kehm, said in a written statement.

"There sometimes are small, encouraging signs, but we also know that this is the time to be very patient," she added.

Schumacher, 45, slammed his head on a rock while skiing off-piste in the French Alps resort of Meribel on December 29.

The seven-times world champion has been in a stable but critical condition since then in a hospital in the eastern French city of Grenoble where doctors started lowering his sedation at the end of January to wake him up from an artificial coma.

"It was clear from the start that this will be a long and hard fight," Kehm said.

"Michael has suffered severe injuries. It is very hard to comprehend for all of us that Michael, who had overcome a lot of

precarious situations in the past, has been hurt so terribly in such a banal situation."

(Reporting by Mark John and Brian Love; Editing by James Regan)

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