“Pope Francis has described the seriously injured former Formula One driver Alessandro Zanardi as a great role model for many people.” Dear Alessandro, your story is an example of how to start again after a sudden stop,” the pontiff wrote in a letter to Zanardi in the newspaper “Gazzetta dello Sport”.
Zanardi had made a “disability a lesson of humanity.” “Thank you for giving strength to those who have lost them. In this painful time I am close to you, I pray for you and your family.”
Zanardi was involved in an accident with his handbike in Tuscany last Friday and suffered serious head and facial injuries. The four-time Paralympic champion had collided with a truck. He is in an artificial coma in the hospital in Siena. The Italian had lost both legs in a dramatic accident at the Lausitzring in 2001 and later switched to disabled sports.
Zanaradi is still in an artificial coma and fighting for his life. Should he awaken, it is now still open whether he will ever be able to see again. Due to the severity of his head and facial injuries, Zanardi apparently threatens to lose his sight.
“There are probably lesions of the field of vision in Zanardi”
A statement from the Siena clinic said: “We will consider slowly removing him from a coma from next week if clinical conditions permit.” Only then can the neurological damage be assessed after the accident.
It is also an assessment of Zanardi’s vision. Sabino Scolletta, the head of the emergency department at Santa Maria alle Scotte Hospital in Siena, said: “We asked an ophthalmologist for advice. Due to the facial injuries, there are probably lesions of the visual field. But it will only be possible to assess that in a few days. It’s hard to say now.’
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