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Massa off respirator, out of coma

July 28, 2009 10:29 IST

Injured Formula One driver Felipe Massa has been brought out of an artificial coma, was taken off a respirator and has been able to communicate with his doctors and family representatives, his doctors said on Monday.

"His condition has improved significantly over the past 24 hours and he remains stable," Lajos Zsiros, the chief surgeon of Hungary's defence forces told a news conference. "We have ended sedation and took him off the respirator.

"He's sleepy but has been able to reply to questions and has been able to move his limbs adequately."

Brazilian Massa fractured his skull in an accident during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday when he was hit just above his left eye by a bouncing spring, weighing almost a kilo, that broke free from compatriot Rubens Barrichello's Brawn car.

Doctors said Massa, last year's championship runner-up, may have also suffered an eye injury but could not yet tell the extent of any possible damage.

Dino Altmann, Massa's personal physician, said the Brazilian's s condition is reassuring.

"He's awake, he has been answering questions, he has been asking what has happened to him," Altmann said on the sidelines of the news conference.

Altmann said the Massa family is happy with the care the injured driver is receiving at the military hospital AEK and moving him is not currently on the agenda.

Robert Veres, the surgeon who operated on Massa, said earlier on Monday that it was too early to tell how quickly Massa could recover but he is likely to miss the rest of the season.

Zsiros also declined to predict Massa's recovery but said that in theory, a man could fully recover after such an accident.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, who flew to Budapest on Monday to visit Massa, said his main concern for the time being is Massa's recovery and the team would consider his possible replacement later.

"For us, the first priority is to find out Felipe's recovery progress and situation," di Montezemolo told a joint news conference with Massa's doctors. "Felipe is a very important member of the Ferrari family not just the Ferrari team.

"First priority now is to find out the situation with Felipe and then we will see and we will think, without pressure. Only at that moment will we make a decision and if we have to take a decision we will make a good decision," di Montezemolo said.


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