Doctors treating Alex Zanardi have initiated the process that will bring the ex-Formula One driver out of his medically induced coma.

The Italian suffered serious injuries in an accident when his handbike collided with a large vehicle on June 19.

Zanardi, 53, was airlifted to a hospital in Siena and subsequently placed into a coma.

The hospital on Thursday released a statement offering an update on the condition of the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic gold medallist, who had both of his legs amputated above the knee following a motorsport accident in 2001.

"With reference to the clinical conditions of Alex Zanardi, hospitalised in the Intensive Care Unit of the Aou Senese, the health management, in agreement with the family of the sample, informs that the progressive reduction of sedo-analgesia has been started," the statement read. 

"Following the reduction of sedation, it will take a few days for further evaluations on the patient by the multidisciplinary team that takes care of the athlete, to allow any continuation of his therapeutic and rehabilitative path."

The prognosis for Zanardi, who has undergone several surgeries, remains confidential. 

Alex Zanardi will be kept in an induced coma until at least next week after he suffered injuries in a handbike crash.

The ex-Formula One driver was airlifted to the Santa Maria alle Scotte hospital in Siena after a collision with a large vehicle on Friday.

An update on the Italian's condition was provided by the hospital on Tuesday amid grave concerns for the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic gold medallist, who had both of his legs amputated above the knee following a motorsport accident in 2001.

"The patient spent the fourth night of hospitalisation in the intensive care unit of the Santa Maria alle Scotte polyclinic in Siena in conditions of stability in cardio-respiratory and metabolic parameters," a hospital statement read.

"The neurological picture remains unchanged in its severity. The patient remains sedated, intubated and mechanically ventilated.

"Any reductions in sedo-analgesia, for the assessment of neurological status, will be considered starting next week. The prognosis remains confidential."

Dr. Giuseppe Olivieri said former Formula One driver Alex Zanardi is in a "serious but stable" condition following a road accident in Italy, adding the operation went according to plan.

Zanardi was airlifted to the Santa Maria alle Scotte hospital in Siena after a shocking crash with a large vehicle while riding his handbike on Friday.

The 53-year-old suffered a horrifying motorsport accident in 2001 that resulted in both of his legs being amputated above the knee.

Olivieri provided an update on Zanardi after undergoing surgery for severe head injuries amid grave concerns for the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic gold medallist, telling reporters: "The condition of Alex Zanardi is serious but stable.

"He arrived here with major facial cranial trauma, a smashed face, and a deeply fractured frontal bone [forehead]. The numbers are good, although it remains a very serious situation.

"We won't see what his neurological state is until he wakes up — if he wakes up. Serious condition means it's a situation when someone could die. Improvement takes time in these cases.

"Turns for the worse can be sudden. The operation went according to the plan. It's the initial situation that was very serious."

Olivieri added: "The next step is to try and stabilise him over the next week or 10 days. Then if things go well, he could eventually be woken up and re-evaluated.

"As I told his wife, he's a patient who is worth being treated. As far as a prognosis of how he'll be tomorrow, in a week or in 15 days, I don't know. But I'm convinced that he should be treated."

 

Alex Zanardi was in a "very serious" condition with a head injury after undergoing surgery following a road accident in Italy, doctors said.

The former Formula One driver, who in 2001 suffered a horrifying motorsport accident that resulted in both of his legs being amputated above the knee, was widely reported to have collided with a large vehicle on Friday while riding his handbike.

Zanardi made a heart-warming sporting comeback as a Paralympian who won gold medals for Italy at London 2012 and Rio 2016.

The motorsport and Paralympic worlds were hoping he would recover from the latest trauma, with Damon Hill and Mario Andretti among those expressing concern for the 53-year-old.

The Senese-University Hospital in Siena issued a statement that said Zanardi was being treated at its Santa Maria alle Scotte polyclinic, having been airlifted from the scene of the accident.

It said his injury was "severe", and a later statement said: "Regarding the clinical conditions of Alex Zanardi, hospitalised in very serious conditions at the Santa Maria alle Scotte polyclinic due to a road accident that occurred in the province of Siena, the Aou Senese Health Department informs that the neurosurgical and maxillofacial intervention to which the athlete was subjected, due to the severe head injury, started shortly after 19:00 and ended shortly before 22:00.

"The patient was then transferred to intensive care, with a reserved prognosis. His health conditions are very serious."

As well as hand-cycling, Zanardi has competed in the World Touring Car Championship since his 2001 crash.

In Formula One, he drove for the Jordan, Lotus, Minardi and Williams teams during the 1990s.

Former Formula One world champion Hill, a contemporary of Zanardi, wrote on Twitter: "Shocked and praying he is OK. To him and his family and friends and millions of fans and supporters, we're praying for you Alex."

Andretti, who won the F1 world championship in 1978 and also drove with great success in IndyCar, wrote: "I am so anxious and frightened about Alex Zanardi that I'm holding my breath. I am his fan. I am his friend. Please do what I'm doing and pray pray for for this wonderful man."

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