PARIS — Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher was in critical condition after brain surgery following a skiing accident in the French Alps on Sunday, doctors said.
The Grenoble University Hospital Center said the retired driver, 44, arrived in a coma and had surgery for a serious head trauma.
Schumacher fell while skiing off trails in the Meribel resort and hit his head on a rock, a statement from the resort said. He had been wearing a helmet and was conscious when rescuers responded to the scene, resort managers said.
Schumacher's manager, Sabine Kehm, said in an email to the Associated Press that Schumacher was on a private skiing trip and "fell on his head."
"We ask for understanding that we cannot give running updates on his condition," Kehm said. "He wore a helmet and was not alone."
Schumacher's 14-year-old son was skiing with his father when the accident happened, the resort said.
Schumacher broke a leg during a crash at the Silverstone race course in 1999. He was hurt seriously in a motorcycle accident in February 2009 in Spain, suffering neck and spine injuries. He recovered sufficiently to make a comeback in F1.
Schumacher initially retired in 2006 after winning five straight titles with Ferrari following two earlier ones with Benetton. He returned in 2010 and drove for three seasons for Mercedes without much success before retiring again last year.
Formula One drivers used social media to wish Schumacher a quick recovery.
His former Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa, who recovered from life-threatening injuries suffered at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2009, wrote on Instagram: "I am praying for you my brother!! I hope you have a quick recovery!! God bless you Michael."
Romain Grosjean of Lotus said on Twitter: "All our thoughts to Schumi and his family! Hope you will recover soon #legend #Schumi."