Tue, Jul 28, 2009 - Page 20 News List

F1: Massa has suffered damage to his eye, neurosurgeon says


Seriously injured Brazilian Grand Prix driver Felipe Massa has suffered eye damage, said neurosurgeon Robert Veres, who operated on the driver.

The Ferrari driver suffered skull and eye injuries when he was hit on the head by a spring that broke loose from compatriot Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn GP car during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Asked whether Massa’s eye suffered damage in the accident, Veres said: “I am sure, but we do not know the extent [of the damage] yet.”

Earlier, a Hungarian defense ministry spokesman revealed that Massa was now able to communicate using movements when woken up.

“Massa is now woken up increasingly often and is capable of active communication, giving feedback by moving his legs and hands. This is certainly a good sign,” Istvan Bocskai said on state television.

The 28-year-old — winner of 11 Grand Prix and the world championship runner-up last year — was hit by debris in his helmet just above his left eye at around 275kph. Massa was airlifted to a hospital run by the defense ministry and underwent surgery for skull damage.

The Ferrari driver has been kept in an induced coma since then to help his body to get through the postoperative phase, but was woken up from time to time to get information on his condition.

Bocskai said a slow recovery was about to start although “this is not the phase yet when this can be stated as a certainty.”

On Sunday, Massa underwent a computed tomography (CT) scan to determine if cerebral damage had occurred.

Asked whether the driver suffered brain injuries, Bocskai said: “The doctors did not observe any signs from the CT to confirm [an injury] but ... it is still early to say anything.”

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