Doctor speaks out over Schumacher injuries

'We carried out a diagnosis as soon as he came to us, and we soon realised how serious his injuries were'

THE DOCTOR behind Michael Schumacher's return to fitness, following the F1 star's motorcycle crash in February last year, has spoken of his serious concerns over the driver's injuries.

Dr Johannes Peil has been Michael Schumacher's personal physician for the last nine years and was a key figure in the star's return to fitness following the crash, which took place during testing, at Cartagena circuit, Spain.

"It was quite alarming because when they initially checked him out in Spain, they sent him home, saying everything was fine, but we carried out a diagnosis as soon as he came to us, and we soon realised how serious his injuries were," Peil told The Guardian newspaper.

In the first few months following the accident, Schumcher embarked on a serious physiotherapy campaign.

"He had serious rotation movement problems between the head and neck, and the physio focused on extension mobilisation. There was a lot of manual therapy and therapy focused on building up the muscles. When you have an injury like that you have to look at muscular compensation – that is to say that the injury will never be completely healed, but what you can do is compensate for it by building up the muscles around that area.

We used a neck machine specially designed for Formula One drivers, to stabilise and strengthen his neck."

Schumacher's friend and former multiple 500cc World Champion Mick Doohan told the German after the accident that he was concerned about the F1 king's decision to take up motorcycle racing. 

"Until you get it right, you fall badly at least ten times. If you are young, that's part of your job, but when you're older you wouldn't advise it," warned Doohan.

Schumacher will make his return to F1 next weekend at the opening round of the 2010 season, in Bahrain.

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