Alex Zanardi has undergone further neurosurgery in the Siena hospital where he is being treated for the severe head injury he suffered in a handbike accident 10 days ago.
The 1997/98 CART Indycar champion, ex-Formula 1 racer and three-time Paralympic gold medal winner has been in an induced coma since the crash on Friday June 19, with the hospital saying that it would wait until this week to further evaluate his condition.
A statement from the Santa Maria alle Scotte hospital on Monday said that a CT scan performed as part of the evaluation “showed an evolution of the patient’s state which made it necessary to resort to a second neurosurgery”.
This operation took two and a half hours, and afterwards Zanardi was returned to the intensive care unit where he is being kept intubated and sedated.
The hospital’s medical director Roberto Gusinu said the surgery “represents a step that had been hypothesised by the team” treating Zanardi.
Zanardi’s condition is “stable from the cardio-respiratory and metabolic point of view” according to the latest hospital bulletin but neurologically the situation is “severe”.
The 53-year-old double amputee had undergone an initial “complicated” surgery on the night of the crash, which happened when he made contact with a truck while competing in a relay event on public roads in Siena.
The doctors treating him have already warned of potentially severe neurological consequences from the injury and concerns over eye damage in particular too, and made clear that a more detailed prognosis would not be possible until they were in a position to reduce his sedation.