Doctors treating ex-F1 racer and CART champion Alex Zanardi have said the full extent of his injuries will be revealed over the coming week but are warning there may be severe consequences.
Zanardi collided with a truck when his handbike lost control while competing in the Obiettivo Tricolore relay event in his native Italy.
The 53-year-old was airlifted to Siena’s Santa Maria alle Scotte University Hospital on Friday where he underwent neurological surgery, leaving him in a serious yet stable condition.
Details concerning Zanardi’s recovery have emerged from the hospital with the Associated Press reporting that Sabino Scolletta, director of the Santa Maria alle Scotte hospital’s intensive care unit, said Zanardi’s “situation is clearly critical in terms of brain damage”.
“We will have eye estimates in a few days,” said Scolletta. “Same thing neurologically, sedatives do not allow us to be able to make a neurological evaluation.
“The picture is so compromised that it requires drug therapy to give stability.
“It is difficult to say even when we could remove this sedation.
“He is a great athlete and therefore from a general point of view he is in excellent condition. For this reason he is probably responding very well to the therapies.
“We think positively, we are confident that this state of his pre-trauma can positively influence the course.”
A three-time Paralympic champion, Zanardi had both his legs amputated in an incident during a CART race in Germany in 2001.
Since his life-changing accident, Zanardi has claimed wins in the World Touring Car series piloting an adapted BMW which allowed him to control the throttle and brake with hand controls.
Zanardi has even made appearances in the Daytona 24 Hours and DTM over the 2010s and was set to contest an Italian GT event at Monza in November.