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Zanardi stable but not ready to be brought out of coma

Zanardi stable but not ready to be brought out of coma
Italy Zanardi Injured - AP Photo/Mauro Pimentel

SIENA, Italy (AP) — Alex Zanardi remains in stable condition after a crash on his handbike and for now will stay in a medically induced coma, doctors said Monday in a fresh medical update.

The Santa Maria alle Scotte hospital in Siena said the Italian auto racing champion-turned-Paralympic gold medalist spent a third night in intensive care without change and that his neurological condition remained grave.

“The neurological evaluations will be carried out only when we reduce the sedation, which we are not thinking of doing at the moment,” Dr. Roberto Gusinu said. “We need to have patience, a lot of patience.”

Zanardi, who lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago, has been in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator since he crashed his handbike into a truck near the Tuscan town of Pienza on Friday during a relay race.

Doctors said he suffered serious facial and cranial trauma and have warned of possible brain damage.

The 53-year-old Zanardi won two championships in CART in the United States and had two stints in Formula One. He crashed during a CART event in Germany in 2001 when both of his legs were severed in a horrific accident the weekend after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

During his recovery, Zanardi designed his own prosthetics and learned to walk again. He then turned his attention to hand cycling and developed into one of the most accomplished athletes in the world. He won four gold medals and two silvers at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics, competed in the New York City Marathon and set an Ironman record in his class.

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