Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher is now able to communicate with his family after being discharged from the Grenoble Hospital. According to the reports in German newspapers, the legendary driver can hear voices and 'communicate with his environment'.
The German newspaper Bild reported that the 45-year-old can breathe without any assistance, but his rehabilitation will take months, if not years.
"We are not talking about recovery in days and weeks, but months and years," Walton Centre's Dr Ganesh Bavikatte said. "But there are hopeful signs. He is physically fit, he is relatively young and I assume he did not have many pre-existing medical conditions."
Earlier, it was revealed that Schumacher is not longer in coma and heading to continue his rehabilitation after the ski accident. He has been transferred to a hospital near his family home in Lausanne.
However, some medical experts are doubtful that the former world champion will able to recovery fully, as very few patients escape from permanent brain damage.
"Only between 10 and 30 per cent of these patients have disabilities which are tolerable," a German neurosurgeon, Dr Andreas Pingel said.
Germany's Society for Neurology and Emergency Medicine's president, Dr Andreas Ferbert, warned that it is possible that the former Ferrari driver is in "waking coma" and might not show higher signs of brain functioning.
"Patients who have been in a coma for so long, quite often go through an Apallic Syndrome phase - this means that they can have their eyes open but have only an extremely limited awareness of their surroundings," Dr Ferbert warned.
Schumacher is likely to be kept in the neurorehabilitation unit of the University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV), which is one of the leading institutions of brain research in the world. The CHUV's neurorehabilitation unit features physiotherapists, occupational therapists, neuropsychologists and speech therapists to help former F1 racer in recovery.
Lausanne hospital's spokesman, Darcy Christen, confirmed that Schumacher has been brought into the hospital and will be given 'highest level of care'. The hospital is just 20 miles away from Schumacher's family home.
"The family is in a separate part of the hospital where their privacy can be best protected and where Michael Schumacher can obtain the highest level of care," Christen said.