Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2012

Schumacher’s family should tell fans about his condition, says ex-team boss

2019 F1 season

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One of Michael Schumacher’s former team bosses has encouraged the multiple world champion’s family to tell his fans more about his condition following his 2013 ski crash.

Little is known about the 50-year-old’s recovery and treatment since he suffered head injuries in a skiing crash in December 2013.

Nick Fry, who was CEO at Mercedes when Schumacher raced at the team between 2010 and 2012, questioned the family’s decision to limit information about his condition in a forthcoming book.

“Corinna [Schumacher’s wife] and the family have kept a very tight control on information about his condition which, I think, is a pity,” said Fry.

“There are millions of people out there who have a genuine affection for Michael, and that’s not just his fans in Germany or fans of Mercedes-Benz. Because of what he achieved. people would like to know about his condition; they are inquisitive and they genuinely feel for him.”

Fry believes other people could benefit from knowledge gained from any of Schumacher’s therapies.

“From what I understand, Michael family has been able to give him the best treatment that money can buy in a specially constructed facility at the family home in Switzerland, where he is looked after by a dedicated team around the clock,” he said.

“I am sure that techniques and therapies have been developed and tried there over the last few years that may well help others. This could be treatment or approaches that worked as well as ideas that don’t.

“It would be helpful for his family to share how they have dealt with this challenge because there are lots of people in a similar situation who would probably find it beneficial to have that first-hand experience.”

Yesterday French newspaper Le Parisien reported Schumacher has been taken to a hospital in Paris for treatment.

“Survive. Drive. Win.” by Nick Fry and Ed Gorman will be published by Atlantic Books on October 3rd.

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Ross Brawn, Dieter Zetsche, Nico Rosberg, Michael Schumacher, Norbert Haug and Nick Fry at the launch of the Mercedes W01, 2010
Ross Brawn, Dieter Zetsche, Nico Rosberg, Michael Schumacher, Norbert Haug and Nick Fry at the launch of the Mercedes W01, 2010

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 70 comments on “Schumacher’s family should tell fans about his condition, says ex-team boss”

    1. Nonesenses, If his wife or son doesn’t want to tell that is their desicion. We don’t have ANY right for information on his condition if his family inform us that their right to do us but not a must.
      So that person should reframe from comments!

      1. What if Michael wants to tell the public, but he cannot communicate it?

        1. What if Michael can communicate and he is the one not wanting to tell the public?

          1. @johnmilk very good point and one good reason to respect his/their privacy. it is an unusual situation due to (a) his massive fame and enormous fan base, (b) what we presume is the severity of his injuries and (c) the family’s ability to administer his care at home in private. all of this means we cannot just assume he will/should be seen as any other patient with a brain injury. his carers have, as far as i know, totally complied with the family’s wishes and for that they should be commended. it should go without saying that doctors do not withold potentially beneficial treatments from other patients because they are respecting the privacy of any other patient. that would be ludicrous and also, why would they need to?

            I think what nick fry is saying is pure supposition – for all we know he is just not receiving any radical or groundbreaking care, it’s just happening in private.

          2. Jose Lopes da Silva
            11th September 2019, 10:53

            What Nick Fry directed at the family, can be directed at him, too.
            He is in his right of being private, and Nick Fry is in his right of asking for that to be revised.

      2. I respectfully disagree.
        Yes, it is their right to withhold information, of course it is. But that doesnt mean it’s right. His family aren’t the only ones that care about him.

        1. And you think your egoistical desire to know private details of totally unrelated (to you) and independent human and family is your “right”, which is also right (not wrong)?

          Ridiculous.

        2. @minnis but they are the ones that care the most and no one, not even friends, can overcome the desires of the family.

          They are entitled to keep quiet.

          1. @dallein @fer-no65
            Oh don’t get me wrong, I completely appreciate that they have the right to withhold information, and that my right is not as important as theirs.

            If the family wishes to remain quiet, no one else will ever have the right to demand information, your points are quite valid.

            My point was merely that the thousands, if not millions, of fans who adore Schumacher are still in limbo, waiting for information. Whilst I respect their right to privacy, I’m sure this many people would appreciate some sort of update as to how their beloved hero is.

            To be honest, if privacy is what they want, I’d suggest giving updates – people will stop asking!

            1. @minnis I suggest that even if the family gave an update (not sure updates plural would be necessary) many people would not stop asking and rather would take that as license to pry even more.

        3. But that doesnt mean it’s right. His family aren’t the only ones that care about him.

          Your feelings towards another Human Being do not entitle you to anything.

      3. going for rights is nonsensiacal, plus we have the right of expression

        1. And the Schumacher family has the right to privacy.

          You have the right to express a desire to know– but that doesn’t mean they have to respond.

      4. What’s the purpose for being so secretive? The only information the public and his fan base have is from years ago when the main specialist said he was basically in a vegetative state.

    2. I really believe they will only update his fans when he passes away. I had a dream where he passed arrived at a grand prix weekend in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic, and it’s wasn’t at all shocking.

      1. Everytime i see his face as a thumbnail for a story, my heart sinks a tiny bit…

      2. I honestly think the reason there’s no update is that there’s no good news, and I don’t expect it will be that long before the update you’re concerned about.

        The almost total lack of information about his condition is, in effect, an update in itself. The news that he’s going in for cardiovascular treatment is not encouraging.

    3. Off course it’s a pity for fans. And off course others might learn from the therapies tried on Schumacher.
      But the family doesn’t want to share all of that, at least not publicly – who knows what is shared between medical professionals, since it is kept confident, with good reasons!

      Is it the best approach? Probably not. Does it work? Not really. Does it matter? I think it doesn’t matter at all.

      Schumacher has always been reluctant to share his private life. And while fans might not like it, the family is keeping to his wishes in that aspect. It is every person’s right to keep their health and wellbeing and private life private. And people should do their best to understand that and respect it.

      1. Well said @bascb; Curiosity is a strong force, but privacy rights are there for a reason, and in the end how exactly Michael Schumacher is doing isn’t all that important for the sport.

        Having heard of it, I do hope that apparent hospitalisation in Paris will help and wish him and his family all the best, these last few years cannot have been easy.

        1. but with no news, the hospitalisation more points to his health failing. people can choose what they respect. a lot of people are respecting and understanding, but its ok to question and feel frustration, there is no rules for human emotion.

          1. @kpcart True, questioning and feeling frustration is natural, but insisting on information, and making claims that one has a right to information over the family’s right to privacy, is not on. It is moot anyway. The family will do as they see is best, and none of us can, nor should try to change that.

    4. Yeah I get it some fans are well lets just say a little excessive with admiration towards sports/movie/pop stars. Some of the posts I’ve seen are obviously written by people with a scary level of obsession.
      So I understand why the family want to keep a level of privacy about his condition. So I’m happy to hear things as the family chooses to release information.

    5. I really believe it’s their family and their choice, we have to respect that. You wouldn’t go peering into you neighbours windows, even if you were well intentioned and they were famous.

      1. Ever notice how Hamilton is appreciative of his fans? I wouldnt know, but i imagine someone with millions of fans around the world, would feel some kind of admiration(?), respect(?), comeradere(?) for their fans. Are they owed anything? or course not. But there are people with micheal schumacher tattoo’s… theres a lot of love for that guy. I get the hospital paperazzi thing soured their taste for the public eye… but yes, his family absolutely owes it to his fans for word on his condition. I feel like anyone with over million fans would want the world to know what happened, and i beleive micheal would want the world to know hes in some kind of comatose state.

        In a way its kinda greedy to keep something like this secret about a loved sporting public figure. Were not asking for photos of him drooling in a hospital gown… and those that are fueled by morbid curiousity mixed with a media blackout.

        His familys handling of the situation has pushed me the other way. I dont care about him specifically. I casually wish him a complete recovery… but no differantly than anyone else on the other side of the planet, as a perfect stranger!

        get well soon…. i guess.

        1. he doesn’t owe his fans anything. this is some strange artefact from the western world’s unhealthy obsession with celebrity. he is a human patient and is entitled to total privacy with regard to his medical condition and care. any clinician that flouts this should not be working in medicine.

        2. but yes, his family absolutely owes it to his fans for word on his condition

          They dont, they just don’t.

          1. They do, they just do.

            See how simple, ineffective, and a waste of time that was?

            If the guy had herpes, I’m with you, that’s his medical condition. All I’m asking for is:
            “He’s in a coma”, or “he’s dead”.

            That’s not too much to ask of a famous persons family. I’ll say it again, it’s greedy.

            It’s whatever, if his family doesn’t care about his fans, I don’t care about him or his family.

            Back to my day…

            1. They do, they just do.

              Prove it. Your feelings towards another human being do not entitle you to anything. You are 100% wrong on this. A person is allowed to keep their private life private, not matter how much you cry about it being unfair.

              See how simple, ineffective, and a waste of time that was?

              You mean your whining? Yes

    6. Not something I like to say, but I think we can infer all we need to from the lack of information and updates.

      1. yeh, its sadly not likely he is at Robert wicken’s level of recovery, about to do a demo lap of Singapore in an amg gt3 with modified hand controls.

        1. Is that confirmed?

    7. Their family, their business.

    8. Why do people think and believe, that if they are ready to expose themselves fully on FB and other similarly atrocious websites, then all others just “have to” want and be ready to do the same?!
      *facepalm*

      Privacy is a thing which must never be disputed. Period.

      I wish Michael to live at least a comparably comfortable and fruitful life, and I will die a happy man if I never hear any update on his condition – it is totally matter of his family, not a mater of public knowledge.

      1. Ii accept your view of this , but also others. You are not more correct than the others though

    9. Brings a stop to “Leclerc says” articles….

    10. No that would be wrong. It is something very personal for Michael’s family and they should tell the fans only if they want to. I would love to know the entirety of the situation but I respect their decision.

    11. I was never a fan of Schumacher, however I was really shocked and saddened by his accident. Whenever I hear news of his recovery I am always curious and anxious to read a good news. Having said that, it is his private life and his family are entitled to keep it secret as much as they like.

      1. This is pretty much how I feel I sorta don’t want to hear unless something miraculous happens. I think his family have a right to privacy, and would respect whatever they feel are Michael’s wishes. I’m pretty worried about this though.

    12. I think his condition is serious enough and the therapy is not obviously providing miraculous results. This indicates its a long term recovery. Few people have survived the kind of injury he had that in itself is testament to the will of the family not to give up. John Todt and a few others have given an indication that Micheal Schumacher is not as he was before.
      I am curious to know, but if I am only satisfying a curiosity and cannot proffer a solution to his problems, then my curiosity is of no benefit to the family. We have to respect their privacy.

      1. I agree!!

      2. yes, agree. their statements are as forthcoming as the family feels comfortable to share as it concerns a person’s personal life & their livelihood – which he still continues to generate income. sadly, we live in a gossip based society enthralled with celebrityism. and stupidity. telling the world all the details is not only ethically inappropriate it would also likely begin to shut off the income streams. leave them alone & if one needs a schumacher fix, focus on mick and his f2 career.

    13. It still saddens me to see people using Michael Schumacher’s unfortunate medical condition to make commercial gains.

      Not sure who decided this part of Nick Fry’s book should be used to promote it – if it was him, his management, or the writers of this report.

      What it does say to me is that there is nothing else worth reading in the book because this is the best they could come up with. No team management insights, no backroom tales of hard negotiation or inter team rivalry (both of which would have made me interested in the book).

      No.

      Just a rehash of a rehash of an opinion on someone’s health – and huge publicity gained – shameful really.

      1. @ahxshades – good observation. On the other hand, if this was meant to publicize the book, it has had the opposite effect on me, and put me off the book.

    14. If corinna doesn’t want to tell anybody then that’s it. Sure it would be nice for the fans to know how he is doing but nice to know is not really good enough reason. We can only speculate and even then I think we speculate less the less schumacher is in the news which probably gives more privacy for the family.

    15. I like this idea by Nick. Schumacher is probably an excellent case study of what is and isn’t possible with today’s cutting edge treatments.

      Especially stem cell field would benefit from this.

      I don’t get this privacy need.

      1. Its not a “need” its a right.

        1. erikje – +1,000,000

    16. It’s perfectly natural and understandable to have personal opinions about the family’s choices surrounding the publication of private details of Michael’s condition.

      My personal opinion about the holding of such opinions is that whatever the opinion or the status of the person holding it, one’s own dignity and the dignity of the Schumacher family are best served by keeping those opinions to oneself.

    17. Well it’s the family’s business and we need to respect their decision.

      However, a really good example of how to deal with these tough situations was with Correa’s recent accident. The family gave a short message about his condition and then asked for privacy. Well handled

    18. If there were an article with information released by either his family or Schumacher himself about his condition I would read it. But my interest in Schumacher was as a racing driver and in his unparalleled work ethic. I don’t need to know about the likely unfortunate state of his current health, especially if that’s against their wishes.

      That information would do nothing to serve his incredible legacy so I can certainly understand the families desire to keep it private, we should remember him for his achievements not tragedy.

    19. He’s been very poorly and we miss him. He is a huge part of the sport but he’s retired now and at home with his family. They deserve to be left in peace if that is their wish.

    20. No, they shouldnt.

    21. Is it me or is the W10 pictured look very very short in comparison with the current car?

      1. It’s the 2009 Brawn car in the Mercedes livery.

    22. I expected the quote to come from Eddie Jordan — even Flavio knows better than to say anything about what the family should or should not do or communicate.

    23. “I am sure that techniques and therapies have been developed and tried there over the last few years that may well help others. This could be treatment or approaches that worked as well as ideas that don’t.
      “It would be helpful for his family to share how they have dealt with this challenge because there are lots of people in a similar situation who would probably find it beneficial to have that first-hand experience.”

      Good Lord, the idiocy of this statement.

      Of course the techniques and therapies tried there will be applied to others if successful. That is what doctors do – they publish peer-reviewed papers in medical journals, taking suitable care to respect the privacy of the individual so that the focus is on the medical case, and the practitioners’ approach to it. They work on building up that body of knowledge of what worked and what didn’t. Other practitioners pick up on it, they cross-consult, refer patients to specific doctors or institutes. They have a system that works.

      The family does not need to put that information out for Joe Public to read, and for the media (specifically, rags) to report on it in a tawdry manner, or for dodgy medical websites to start spewing nonsense on the back of that.

      1. @phylyp I think you nail it in the last sentence. The problem with releasing information is that it would just fuel even more intense speculation, pressure, criticism, rumours, hoaxes etc. which would then – aside from being disagreeable and potentially traumatic for those around him – would consume time and energy responding to. The tabloid news media is voracious and entirely without ethics or empathy. I get the decision.

        1. @david-br – to be fair, my comment was specifically about Fry’s suggestion that the Schumacher family’s desire for privacy was somehow resulting in holding back medical knowledge.

          I wholly agree with your wider point, although my comment about respecting the family’s wishes was made earlier on the round-up thread (and ended up being criticized for my viewpoint!)

          If anything, I’m surprised at the entitlement displayed by some of the commenters on even this thread that they are somehow entitled to information because they cheered for or supported Schumacher in his heyday. An interesting insight into why tabloids and the paparazzi exist, and why celebrities have stalkers.

    24. To each his own on this subject but I’m just curious if anyone can think of any other public figure in history who suffered some kind of injury and the family instituted a complete blackout on any information about their condition?

    25. Fry believes other people could benefit from knowledge gained from any of Schumacher’s therapies.

      Those last few paragraphs are things I agree with, However I think it would be crazy to think that the doctors & others treating him are not sharing knowledge with others in the medical profession if they tried something that produced positive results.

      There not going to attach Michael’s name to it (Unless the family agree to that) but there will be documents which will be shared with those who would benefit from seeing it that won’t have Michael’s name on it, They will be using generic phrases like ’50 year old make with x injury’.

    26. The ONLY people who have a right to know what is happening with Micheal, is his family and his direct medical professional team.

      He may have fans all over the world, but, they have no right to know about his current condition. I hope his condition does improve and I’m sure if it does improve to any significant amount, the family will say so.

    27. Fry is generating PR for his Book.
      That’s about it really.
      Next.

    28. We, the fans have no right on this subject. Only his family should decide what information comes out.

    29. I dunno. I think he owes it to his fans. He wouldnt be where he was in F1 if it weren’t for his fans.

    30. A most difficult perspective of dealing with a brain trauma situation is that ordinary people are not equipped with knowledge or experience to evaluate the actual situation. The untrained individual assimilates someone with brain trauma into the category of a circus sideshow. Managing his image through photographs and secrecy keeps Michaels’ vibrant achievements alive in the public. Any scenes of him in his current form would be misinterpreted diminish his remarkable story. I argue that it is morbid curiosity of no value that pushes an interest is peeking under the covers. Let it be as is.

    31. David Ressler – definitely. the best comment of all.

    32. If I am honest, I was not a Schumi fan, but was saddened to hear of his condition, then I have not thought about it as I get on with my own life, then I saw this, now I wonder how he is doing. When I walk off I probably wont think about it until I see the next article, I dont feel it is my right to know any information, I dont see how it impacts on me personally so I dont see why the family need to announce any news. It would be nice for fans to know some news when relevant which seems to be happening but lets face it each update on his condition will have plenty of follow up reports on the prognosis and what next for Schumacher etc. I totally see their point!

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