Wed, Feb 09, 2011 - Page 19 News List

Kubica woken from coma, moves hand after surgery

AP, GENOA, ITALY

Formula One driver Robert Kubica was brought out of an induced coma on Monday and moved his fingers following surgery for serious injuries he suffered in a rally car crash. However, the 26-year-old Polish driver will likely need further surgery to his elbow and shoulder, his Lotus Renault team said.

Kubica underwent seven hours of surgery on Sunday after the high-speed crash in northern Italy. His right hand was badly damaged and surgeons averted the risk of amputation.

“The movement of the finger, combined with the general health conditions of the patient, is encouraging,” Giorgio Barabino, head of the intensive care unit at the Santa Corona hospital, told the ANSA news agency. “Kubica is conscious. He talks and understands what has happened. The first thing he thought about was his co-driver, and was informed about his condition.”

Kubica’s manager, Daniel Morelli, said he spoke to the driver, who was “perfectly conscious” and whose “brain activity is -normal,” given the situation.

“In this moment, I feel extremely relieved compared to 24 hours ago,” Morelli said. “The improvement that he has made, in my opinion, and in the opinion of the specialists, is of great significance, and this makes us hopeful for the future.”

Former Renault general manager Flavio Briatore visited Kubica and said he was surprised at his progress.

Kubica’s Skoda Fabia went off the road and hit a wall when he was a few kilometers away from the start of the Ronde di Andora Rally. His co-driver, Jakub Gerber, was unhurt.

He was airlifted to the hospital and a medical bulletin released on Monday said the clinical situation was “of the utmost gravity” when Kubica arrived there.

Surgeon Igor Rossello said Kubica’s right hand was warm on Monday, which he said was a good sign. However, the surgeon said it would take five or six more days to see if the hand was healing properly.

Rossello has estimated that it would take about a year for Kubica to recover functionality in his right hand.

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