Prof Stephan Chabardes, the neurosurgeon who operated on Michael Schumacher, believes the next 48 hours will be 'decisive' in ascertaining whether the German racing legend will survive or not.
The 44-year-old seven time Formula One Drivers' Champion fell and hit his head on a rock while skiing with his son at Meribel on Sunday morning.
Although the chief anaesthetist at the Grenoble University Hospital Centre where Schumacher was being treated - Jean-Francois Payen - refused to speculate about the extent of his injuries and whether he will have permanent brain damage should he survive, he noted that Schumacher's helmet "protected him in part" and that "someone who hadn't been wearing a helmet would not have got here."
"It is too early, at this stage, to make a judgment about the future of Michael Schumacher. His situation is critical," Payen added.
After arriving at the hospital, Schumacher underwent emergency surgery in order to stop the bleeding inside his head, which was causing swelling in a "critical" part of his brain.
Following the procedure, Chabardes admitted that the next day or two will be critical to his survival, after being placed in a medically-induced coma in order to reduce brain's need for oxygen.
"The next 24 hours are critical. We monitor developments. The next 24 or 48 hours will be decisive," the surgeon said.