Alex Zanardi has spent a fourth night in intensive care and doctors will not consider reducing his sedation to assess his neurological condition until next week.
The double CART Indycar champion, ex-Formula 1 driver and three-time gold medal winner at the Paralympic Games has been in an induced coma at the Santa Maria alle Scotte hospital in Siena since undergoing neurosurgery last Friday evening.
Zanardi suffered an accident while in a handbike relay event, in which he drifted to the wrong side of the road and collided with an oncoming truck.
The hospital in Italy has provided regular updates since then, with the latest bulletin on Tuesday indicating no change in Zanardi’s condition.
That means he remains stable physically but with a “severe” neurological picture and is still sedate, intubated and mechanically ventilated.
Presently, no prognosis has been given. Doctors had suggested the first evaluation of the severity of Zanardi’s injuries could be conducted this week.
But the hospital says any reduction in sedation to assess his neurological status will be considered starting next week.
Medical professionals at the hospital, including the surgeon who operated on Zanardi, have warned of severe consequences including serious cognitive damage and eyesight impairment.
However, they have also expressed optimism that Zanardi’s physical condition prior to the accident will help him now and in his potential recovery.
Zanardi, a two-time gold medal winner in handbike racing the 2012 London Paralympics and a gold medal winner again in Rio four years later, had been preparing for his third appearance at the games, which have been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He was also scheduled to race for BMW in an Italian GT event at Monza in November, driving for the Ravaglia team with which he made his successful motorsport comeback following the 2001 CART accident in which he lost both his legs.