Michael Schumacher’s Lawyer Insists Racing Legend ‘Cannot Walk’

Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher in the final race of his career.

The lawyer for legendary race car driver Michael Schumacher has told a German court that a magazine’s report that Schumacher is able to walk again following his 2013 skiing accident is untrue. Schumacher’s family is suing Die Bunte magazine, a German publication that covers celebrity gossip, among other subjects, for publishing an article in December 2015 claiming that Schumacher was now capable of walking with assistance from his therapists.

The article in Die Bunte quoted an unnamed friend of Schumacher who said the racing legend was able to take “a couple of steps.” A story in the Guardian makes mention of the statement by the unnamed friend that has prompted the lawsuit from Schumacher’s family.

“Michael is very thin,” the friend said about Schumacher in the Die Bunte article. “But he can once again walk a little with the help of his therapists. He manages to make a couple of steps. And he can also raise an arm.”

Michael Schumacher racing in a Formula 1 car.

Schumacher suffered serious injuries in a skiing accident while on vacation with his wife and kids in the French Alps in December 2013. The Daily Mail recalls that Schumacher had to be placed in a medically-induced coma, where he remained for six months. Following the accident, Schumacher had to undergo two brain surgeries. Schumacher was eventually transferred to a hospital in Switzerland, and he now has a full-time medical staff overseeing his care at his home in Switzerland.

Schumacher’s lawyer, Felix Damm, is representing his family in the lawsuit that claims that the Die Bunte article is false. Schumacher’s family is also asking for privacy in the matter as they appear to have gone to great lengths to keep the public from learning too much about Schumacher’s state of health. Damm explained to CNN why he was in court on behalf of Schumacher’s family.

“I told the court on Friday that the alleged claim that Michael Schumacher can walk again is false and simply not true,” Damm told CNN. “Michael cannot even stand with the help of his special therapists. I cannot make any other comments about Michael’s health situation.”

Soon after the article in question was published in December, Schumacher’s manager, Sabine Kehm, refuted the claim that Schumacher had regained the ability to walk.

“Unfortunately, we are forced by a recent press report to clarify that the assertion that Michael could move again is not true,” Kehm said. “Such speculation is irresponsible because given the seriousness of his injuries, his privacy is very important for Michael. Unfortunately they also give false hopes to many involved people.”

Support displayed for Michael Schumacher by German football teams.

Last month, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, who is a former chairman of Ferrari, which was Schumacher’s racing team for 11 years, said that Schumacher was responding positively to treatment. He also said that reports indicating Schumacher’s condition was deteriorating were not true.

“I’m very pleased to know that he is reacting,” Montezemolo told Christian publication, Ecumenical News. “I know how strong he is. I’m sure that thanks to his determination; which will be crucial, he will come out from this very, very difficult situation.”

What exactly Schumacher’s condition is today is known only to those closest to him. Damm was forced to give details about Schumacher’s current state to the court, but the Schumacher family wants to keep his status private. A verdict in the Schumacher’s lawsuit against Die Bunte is expected next month. The publication has declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Prior to the accident, Schumacher was one of the most renowned race car drivers in the history of the sport. Between 1994 and 2004, Schumacher won seven Formula 1 world titles. He retired from the sport in 2006, only to make a comeback in 2010. Schumacher retired from racing for good in 2012, the year before his tragic accident.

[Featured Image by Clive Mason/Getty Images]