Alex Zanardi is an inspirational figure in the worlds of motorsport and paralympic endeavour. 

Former Formula One driver and twice Champ Car champion Alex Zanardi will remain in an induced coma until at least next week, according to the neurosurgeon who operated on him.

The 53-year-old Italian suffered severe head injuries in a road accident while racing his handbike in Italy on Friday.

« Zanardi is in stable condition and the parameters are stable too, » professor Giuseppe Oliveri told Sky in Italy. « This is what we can expect at best at the moment.

« It will take a long time. He will remain sedated for another 10-15 days. At present, his response is good.

« We do not know to which extent his coma is due to medications and to his medical conditions.

Zanardi is an inspirational figure in the worlds of motorsport and Paralympic endeavour, a hugely popular and positive competitor who returned from life-changing injuries with a smile.

He had both legs amputated above the knee, with his heart stopping seven times, after the horrific crash at the Lausitzring in Germany on Sept. 15, 2001.

During his recovery, Zanardi designed his own prosthetics and learned to walk again. He then turned his attention to hand cycling and developed into one of the most accomplished athletes in the world. He won four gold medals and two silvers at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics, competed in the New York City Marathon and set an Ironman record in his class.

Information from Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


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