Confusion over Felipe Massa’s condition following “life threatening” injury claim

Massa's condition is described as 'serious but stable'

Massa's condition is described as 'serious but stable'

Contradictory reports of Felipe Massa’s condition following his crash in qualifying today are causing a lot of confusion.

I’ve tried to collect some of the reports below in an effort to make sense of them and give as clear a picture as possible of what’s going on:

Rubens Barrichelo via Twitter, 7:10pm on Sunday:

Good news.Felipe had a good night and react ok when he saw his parents.For a better recovery they will keep him asleep

Jonathan Noble via Twitter, 11:24am Sunday:

Hospital officials say Felipe Massa will be kept in an artifical coma for the next 48 hours to help his recovery

Ferrari press release, 10am Sunday:

After undergoing an operation yesterday afternoon, Felipe Massa’s condition remains stable and there were no further complications through the night. He will be given another CT scan today, which will provide more precise information.

Post on, apparently coming via Rob Smedley’s wife Lucy, 9:45am Sunday:

OK folks….just spoken to Lucy on the phone….have to be careful what information I impart as I don’t want to get her in trouble with Ferrari. However….

The situation is not as grave as some news reports are making out, yes it is serious, but all the reports coming back from the hospital are extremely positive. At this stage it is hoped and believed he will make a full recovery.

Felipe was brought out of the induced coma this morning and was very confused, he has now been put back into the induced coma so they can carry out the necessary scans, his family will have just arrived this morning from Brazil and will be with him at the hospital now.

Obviously I have to be careful what I say, but all the signs from Lucy is that things are not as bad as some news reports are leading us to believe, and it is expected Felipe will be ok.

Jonathan Noble via Twitter, 8:43am Sunday:

Doctors are optimistic Massa will make a recovery from his injuries, although firm news will come only after tests

BBC News, 9:32pm:

The Associated Press news agency quoted a hospital spokesman as saying Massa’s condition was “life-threatening”. But Ferrari denied the reports, insisting the operation was “positive”.

Rubens Barrichello on Twitter, 9:01pm:

I just came back from the hospital.Felipe went trough a cirurgy which went very well.Now he is asleep waiting for a new scan tomorrow

James Allen on Twitter, 8:19pm:

Ignore reports on Sky/AP that Massa is in life threatening condition. He’s stable after an op and will be okay. Long recuperation though


Massa – who drives for Ferrari – was airlifted to hospital in Budapest where officials said he is in a “life-threatening but stable” condition after an operation on a skull fracture.

Several people are questioning the accuracy of the Sky story, similar versions of which have appeared on Planet F1, Yahoo, AP and others. Sky seem to have removed it from their F1 home page now.

If you have any further updates on the story please post them below or share them with me via Twitter.

All times BST

Other questions people are asking

Will Ferrari be able to field a third driver in tomorrow’s race? Not as I understand – see this article for more on the rules regarding driver changes at races.

Who will Ferrari use to replace Massa if he cannot race later this season? It looks like Massa will have a long recuperation. They could use either of their third drivers – Luca Badoer or Marc Gene, both of which have F1 experience. But they are not limited to just those drivers – they could use someone else.

What did Massa hit? According to Ross Brawn it was a spring from Barrichello’s car weighing around 800g.

If you have any further updates on the story please post them below or share them with me via Twitter.

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143 comments on Confusion over Felipe Massa’s condition following “life threatening” injury claim

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  1. Adam said on 26th July 2009, 17:54

    Watching the collision live, my first thought was that Massa had been killed. On camera he was just bouncing limp and while he hit the brake peddle, that didn’t mean it was a conscious act as he also slammed down full throttle at the same time. It looked to me from all indications that he was out cold. His hands really never made an attempt to move the wheel, he was just along for the ride, like you would be if you were unconscious.

  2. Drs Opinion said on 26th July 2009, 18:00

    Not having examined him myself, here is what I am guessing happened. Massa got hit on the left temple area of the head. The spring actually dented the helmet a little and cracked the visor. Then he has one of two things happen to him. He woke up from being knocked out and was able to apply the brakes. Or he had what they call decerebrate posturing which is present when a lower brain injury has occurred. This involves the extremities of the body flexing outward abnormally. That might cause the brake to be applied. Barrichello said he was awake, yet agitated. These are signs of either a severe head injury or neurogenic shock. I am sure they did a CT right away and saw the basilar skull fracture (which BTW is what killed NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Sr.). They would have taken him into surgery right away to remove a portion of his skull so that pressure could be released from his brain. If there was damage around the brain stem then breathing and heart rate would be affected. If there is swelling around the temple area, it could cause the brain to be pushed through the area that was already damaged at the base of the skull. Again that would lead to breathing and HR problems. This is all on top of the suspected damage from the blow to the temple.
    Make no mistake about this accident. Massa will be lucky to live from this accident, then he would be lucky to live independently again. Unless he makes a miraculous recovery, he likely will never drive again. My prayers are with him.

  3. Stephen Luick said on 26th July 2009, 18:42

    Where can I send my wishes and prayers for Felipe’s fast recovery to the Massa family?

  4. Katie said on 27th July 2009, 12:16

    Any idea how long Massa will be out for Keith?

    He is a good driver!

  5. Obster said on 28th July 2009, 17:35

    If you have ever dropped a saloon car spring on a garage floor-I have-they bounce all over the place.
    I can just imagine one dropping off a car at speed.

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