Zanardi transferred to specialist rehab centre

Date published: July 21 2020 - Jon Wilde

Alex Zanardi PA

Former F1 driver Alex Zanardi has been transferred to a specialist recovery centre a month after suffering serious head injuries in a handbike accident.

The 53-year-old Italian was placed in a medically induced coma and has had three operations at Siena’s Santa Maria alle Scotte hospital since the accident during a road race near the Italian city on June 19.

In a statement, the hospital said Zanardi’s sedation had been suspended, allowing him to be transferred.

“The stability of the general clinical conditions and the neurological picture allowed the transfer to a specialised centre for recovery and functional rehabilitation,” it said.

Hospital general manager Valtere Giovannini said: “Our professionals remain at the disposal of this extraordinary person and his family for the further stages of clinical, diagnostic and therapeutic development, as always happens in these cases.

“I sincerely thank the multi-disciplinary team that took care of Zanardi, putting in place a great professionalism recognised nationally and beyond.

“The athlete spent over a month in our hospital: he underwent three delicate surgeries and showed a path of stability of his clinical conditions and vital parameters that allowed the reduction and suspension of sedation, and the consequent possibility to be transferred to a facility for the necessary neuro-rehabilitation.”

Zanardi, whose best F1 result was sixth position for Lotus in the 1993 Brazilian Grand Prix, enjoyed most success as a driver in the CART series in North America, becoming champion in 1997 and 1998.

After returning to F1 for a single, unproductive season with Williams in 1999, his motor racing career was ended two years later by a horrific crash at the Lausitzring in a CART championship race which caused both of his legs to be amputated.

Since then, Zanardi has enjoyed considerable success as a para-cyclist, winning four Paralympic gold medals and 12 World Championship titles.

At F1’s season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, both of the Ferrari cars driven by Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel raced with messages of support for Zanardi with the #ForzaAlex hashtag being placed on the roll hoop.

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