F1 driver Bianchi has traumatic brain injury – family

2014-10-08 09:06

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Yokkaichi – French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital in Japan after suffering a traumatic brain injury, a joint statement by his family and the hospital said.

“Jules remains in the Intensive Care Unit of the Mie General Medical Centre in Yokkaichi. He has suffered a diffuse axonal injury and is in a critical but stable condition,” the statement yesterday, distributed by his Marussia team, read.

“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.”

The 25-year-old Bianchi sustained the injury in an horrific high-speed crash into a recovery vehicle which came on to the side of the track near the end of Sunday’s rain-hit Japanese Grand Prix.

He was taken unconscious by ambulance to the nearest hospital and immediately underwent emergency brain surgery, with doctors saying he was critically ill.

A diffuse axonal injury occurs in 50% of serious head injuries.

It stems from the shockwave that is felt on impact and flows from the top of the brain to the bottom of it provoking the bruising, while the violent forward motion of the driver’s head as the car moves forward and then being brutally brought to a halt jerking the head back also exacerbates the injury.

The shearing action disrupts the brain’s architecture and kills brain cells. In response to the injury, the brain swells and this increasing pressure can restrict blood flow, causing more brain damage

Recovery rates for such injuries are not encouraging.

Organisers have come in for criticism over the timing of the race, which went ahead despite torrential downpours caused by an approaching typhoon.

Drivers repeatedly complained that they could not see properly because of the spray and the fading light.

Horrifying footage, meanwhile, has emerged showing the moment Bianchi’s speeding car smashed into the stationary tractor-crane recovery vehicle.

The spectator film, posted on YouTube, shows his out-of-control Marussia slamming into the back of the yellow vehicle, with sparks flying as the body of the car slides underneath its raised rear end.

The impact, which appears to be at around Bianchi’s helmet height, shears off the air intake cover that hangs over the back of the driver’s head.

Formula One has regularly been rocked by debate over open-top cockpits, which offer drivers little head protection.

In slow-motion, the video appears to show Bianchi’s helmet rebounding violently off the heavy lifting vehicle, which is bounced into the air by the force of the impact.

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