On Friday of last week, a statement from the Schumacher family’s spokesperson indicated that Michael Schumacher was showing “moments of consciousness and awakening” following his skiing incident back in December.
Skiing in a narrow off-piste area of the French resort in Meribel with his son, the seven-time Formula One World Champion fell, and his his head collided with a rock. However, the recent remarks from the family’s spokesperson, Sabine Kehm, have been a boost to his Formula One fans and fellow drivers.
Speaking before the Bahrain Grand Prix, the news lifted spirits of Nico Rosberg, and everybody behind the scenes at Mercedes. Rosberg stated, “I hope he continues to make progress.”
Yet the situation that has seen the former German Formula One driver in a coma for close to 100 days does promise to improve awareness of skiing incidents such as his.
Undeniably important also is that the case can be helpful to doctors treating similar instances in the future. Unquestionably the size of the Schumacher story has created a rise in the study towards dealing with such head injuries . Evidence of the increased level of debate related to this case has been noticeable in the amount of experts that have commented on it.
As skiing has been regularly featured in the news equally after the Winter Olympics in February, it seems this is the perfect time to address the sport’s safety measures.
Investigators, who have ruled out faulty skis and excessive speed for the reason behind the incident, raise the key question of how such a situation could happen. Off-piste areas, which are more likely to be susceptible to rock falls, cliffs and avalanches, are permitted in Europe and Canada.
The circumstances surrounding the Schumacher occurrence mean safety precautions must now be evaluated, and off-piste areas, which are clearly signposted in ski resorts, may need a reassessment. The accident has planted a seed for changing safety laws to impose more stringent guidelines, or attempts to deny what is known as ‘backcountry’ skiing.
Schumacher’s global standing as a racer has impacted the level of study towards the medical side of the incident, and this may bring an improvement to skiing welfare everywhere.
Improvement can also be the forecast for Formula One drivers. Although having gathered that the Schumacher fall three months ago was unrelated to high speeds, it must be a reminder to Formula One chiefs that the safety of their drivers’ speeding mentalities may also need a second look.
The living in the ”fast lane” mentality, which comes with the profession of being a racing car driver, causes an immense rush of adrenaline, which to some racers may be irreplaceable.
Formula One drivers may need to be trained to become aware of this inclination to speed, and keep their high-paced track exploits strictly on the circuit rather than other aspects of life. This could incite a psychological adjustment in the level of knowledge and self-discipline that is required for Formula One drivers, and even sport as a whole.
In recent times, Snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan has implemented sports psychiatrist Steve Peters, as have more recently the Liverpool and England football team, meaning there is a sense that psychology within sport is more advanced. This can now be transferred into Formula One to impose that balance between the sporting environment and then when the drivers are outside of their cars.
Now this is a chance to explore the psychological side of a mechanical sport, taking a look at the minds of the stars in a sport that could possibly test the cerebrum more than any other.
With improvement in safety, like the checkered flag waving as the leader turns on the final bend, skiing and Formula One authorities can then drive forward and win the race.
How else can Schumacher’s case elevate skiing safety?