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Michael’s getting better, says wife

Corinna Schumacher, the wife of Michael Schumacher, has said he is getting better after coming out of a coma. This was her first comment on her husband’s condition, since the former Formula One champion’s skiing accident last December.

Speaking at a horse-riding tournament in Germany, Corinna said the improvement seen in her husband’s condition was encouraging. “It’s getting better, slowly certainly, but in any case it's improving,” she told Neue Post, a German women’s weekly magazine.

Schumacher, 45, spent 170 days in hospital in the French city of Grenoble after cracking his skull on a rock while skiing in the French Alpine resort of Meribel.

Almost all of that time he was in a coma, and lost an estimated 44lb (20kg) in weight.

Last month, the seven-time world champion was transferred from Grenoble university hospital to a rehabilitation clinic in the Swiss city of Lausanne that specialises in care for brain injuries.

Sabine Kehm, his manager, said at the time that he was “no longer in a coma”. She said the driver would begin a long process of rehabilitation in Lausanne, which is 24 miles from his home.

It was reported that Schumacher was responding to his wife’s voice. “The voice of Corinna has a much stronger effect on him than the voices of other people,” Bild newspaper reported.

However, there has been much speculation over his condition and future hopes. Dr Erich Riederer, a Zurich-based neurologist who is familiar with coma patients, told the Swiss media that Schumacher was unlikely to make a full recovery.

“He will remain an invalid all his life and will always remain dependent on the help of others,” he told the Swiss online news site 20 Minuten.

It transpired last month that a report on his medical condition had been stolen and offered for sale to various media for 39,000.

Corinna, who has been married to Schumacher for 18 years, has been an ever-present figure of strength in the wake of his head injury, often staying in hospital by his side for 10 hours a day as he fought for his life.

He is currently paralysed and remains speechless, but medical experts are hoping that the driver will be able to make enough progress to be able to sit in a wheelchair.