Encouraging signs for Schumacher

There are small signs of encouragement in Michael Schumacher's condition but the most successful former Formula One champion of all time faces a long fight to recover after suffering severe head injuries in a skiing accident, his agent said on Wednesday.

"We are and remain confident that Michael will pull through and will wake up," his agent and spokeswoman, Sabine Kehm, said in a written statement.

"There sometimes are small, encouraging signs, but we also know that this is the time to be very patient," she added.

Seven-time world champion Schumacher, 45, slammed his head on a rock while skiing off-piste in the French Alps resort of Meribel on December 29.

"It was clear from the start that this will be a long and hard fight," Kehm said.

"Michael has suffered severe injuries. It is very hard to comprehend for all of us that Michael, who had overcome a lot of  precarious situations in the past, has been hurt so terribly in such a banal situation."

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