The price of hot chocolate from the machines of the University Hospital of Grenoble rose 50 cents at a time in the first week of 2014, probably the busiest in the history of the clinic. On the previous Sunday, December 29, 2013, in the early afternoon, a patient in critical condition had entered the hospital and was fighting to stay alive after having suffered a accident while skiing at the Méribel station, in the French Alps. The multiple brain lesions detected caused by a strong blow against a rock resulted in a very poor prognosis. His name, Michael Schumacher, coincided with that of the world icon of modern motorsport, the most influential driver in the history of Formula 1, seven titles, five of them consecutive (2000-2004) with Ferrari. The more than real possibility of suddenly losing a myth comparable to Michael Jordan or Muhammad Ali, recently retired the previous season (2012) and who at that time was not even 45 years old, petrified those Christmases to the entire spectrum of sports.
Five years after that cascade of medical communications – the last one is from September 2014 – that kept the edge of the nervous breakdown in a good part of the world, the health of the Kaiser, who will turn 50 next year, remains a mystery from which hardly anything has transpired, only conjectures from a couple of testimonies that, in any way, do not allow us to have an accurate idea of the conditions in which the excorredor is. That tightness was about to collapse when a thief – a worker of a medicalized air transport company – took one of the medical files and started offering it to some media for about 50,000 euros. Shortly after stopping him, the caco was found hanged in his cell before being able to give a statement about what happened.
In June 2014, after leaving the coma, Schumacher was transferred to his home in Gland (Switzerland), a town on the shore of Lake Geneva, between Lausanne and Geneva, where a team of specialists provides him with all the care he needs, and that according to some estimates supposes a disbursement superior to the 200,000 euros monthly. In the middle of last month, the Daily Mail concluded that Kerpen did not remain permanently prostrate in bed or require assisted breathing, an extreme that was not denied by the family, in contrast to other information previously reported.
The circle of confidence established by Corinna is reduced to the closest relatives and to a few exceptions outside it. Apart from their children, Mick and Gina Maria, you can often see Rolf and Ralph, father and brother, leaving the house. Schumi, respectively. Another one that happens daily is Kai Schnapka, the personal trainer who accompanied the German in his last active stage, with Mercedes (2010-2012), and who deals with the physiotherapy part of the recovery.
And what comes next?
Of the infinity of braided ties with F1, only two people have publicly acknowledged having been invited to Gland. This is Ross Brawn, who was technical director of Ferrari (1997-2006) and who convinced the German to return to compete in 2010 with Mercedes, and Jean Todt, current president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) and maximum responsible for sporting Scuderia from 1994 to 2007. In fact, the Frenchman saw with his former pupil the last Brazilian F1 Grand Prix, in November. "It's true that I saw that race with Michael, but I've always been very careful with what I say to the press," he said in a statement he picked up. Auto Bild.
It was Todt who inadvertently propitiated one of the biggest revelations related to Schumacher's status, by requesting Archbishop Georg Gänswein, confidant of the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who went to visit him, something that happened in 2016 although it did not extend until last month. "I sat in front of him, I touched him with both hands and I looked at him. His face, as we all know, is the typical face of Michael Schumacher; it has only become a little more filled, "Gänswein told the magazine Bunte. "He feels that around him there are people who love him, who care about him and, thank God, keep the curious public away. A sick person needs discretion and understanding, "added the archbishop, who mediated for Corinna, Mick and Gina Maria to receive an audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican two summers ago.
And what comes next? For the uncertainty that has surrounded the case in the last five years is the same as expected from now on, waiting for any medical update that is made public in any direction. Kehm denied a few months ago that the Schumachers were considering a change of scenery towards Mallorca, where this summer they acquired a mansion that belonged to Florentino Pérez, president of Real Madrid, and for which they paid around 30 million euros.