Jules Bianchi still 'critical but stable' after suffering brain injury in Suzuka crash
Marussia driver's parents confirm their son sustained a "diffuse axonal injury"; Bianchi in intensive care after hitting recovery vehicle at Suzuka; F1 drivers and team carry messages of support in Russia
By Sky Sports Online
Last Updated: 13/10/14 8:28am
Marussia driver Jules Bianchi remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital one week after sustaining what have been confirmed as serious brain injuries in his terrifying Japanese GP accident.
The 25-year-old Frenchman has been in the intensive care unit at the Mie General Medical Center in Yokkaichi for one week after suffering the injuries when he crashed into a recovery vehicle in the rain-hit race at Suzuka.
As Bianchi continues to fight for his life in hospital in Japan, the thoughts of the F1 community remained firmly with the Frenchman at last weekend's Russian GP with all drivers and teams carrying messages of support and holding a tribute at the front of the grid ahead of the race. Marussia opted to just field just one car in Sochi out of respect for their critically-injured driver.
Last Tuesday, Bianchi's parents, in conjunction with the hospital and distributed via the Marussia team, issued a statement in which they confirmed that their son suffered "a diffuse axonal injury". He is listed as being in a critical but stable condition.
The statement read: “This is a very difficult time for our family, but the messages of support and affection for Jules from all over the world have been a source of great comfort to us. We would like to express our sincere appreciation.
"Jules remains in the Intensive Care Unit of the Mie General Medical Center in Yokkaichi. He has suffered a diffuse axonal injury and is in a critical but stable condition. The medical professionals at the hospital are providing the very best treatment and care and we are grateful for everything they have done for Jules since his accident.
"We are also grateful for the presence of Professor Gerard Saillant, President of the FIA Medical Commission, and Professor Alessandro Frati, Neurosurgeon of the University of Rome La Sapienza, who has travelled to Japan at the request of Scuderia Ferrari. They arrived at the hospital today and met with the medical personnel responsible for Jules’ treatment, in order to be fully informed of his clinical status so that they are able to advise the family. Professors Saillant and Frati acknowledge the excellent care being provided by the Mie General Medical Center and would like to thank their Japanese colleagues.
"The hospital will continue to monitor and treat Jules and further medical updates will be provided when appropriate.”
According to the web resource brainandspinalcord.org, a diffuse axonal injury is 'one of the most common traumatic brain injuries' and that 'instead of occurring in a specific area', the injury 'occurs over a more widespread area'.
The website states that 'diffuse axonal injury isn’t the result of a blow to the head. Instead, it results from the brain moving back and forth in the skull as a result of acceleration or deceleration'.
However, it adds that 'in addition to being one of the most common types of brain injuries, it’s also one of the most devastating'.
It was Professor Saillant who oversaw the initial treatment of Michael Schumacher when the seven-times World Champion fell into a coma after suffering serious head injuries while skiing in the French Alps late last year.
"He is one of the world’s leading orthopaedic surgeons and he advised the Schumacher family when they were undertaking his initial treatment in Grenoble after his skiing accident last December," reported Sky Sports News HQ's Craig Slater. "He was a kind of intermediary figure between the doctors treating Schumacher and the family and it seems as though he’s going to play a similar role here."
Parents Philippe and Christine arrived at the hospital to see their son the day after his crash after flying in from France. Marussia have said that updates on their driver's condition "will be guided by the wishes of the Bianchi family".
Bianchi's car aquaplaned off at Suzuka's Dunlop Curve, where marshals were already using a recovery vehicle to tow away Adrian Sutil's Sauber, which crashed on the previous lap as rain intensified.
The out-of-control Marussia struck the rear of the recovery vehicle at speed and partly submarined beneath it. Both the team and the FIA are to carry out their own investigations.