June 29, 2020 / 5:35 PM / 4 days ago

Motor racing: Zanardi undergoes neurosurgery for a second time

FILE PHOTO: Italian driver Alex Zanardi uses his ear sticks before sitting in the cockpit of his specially modified car at the Eurospeedway Lausitzring circuit in the eastern German town of Klettwitz May 11, 2003, before the German 500 CART race. Zanardi returned to the race track in Germany where he lost both legs in a crash. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo

ROME (Reuters) - Former Formula One driver and Paralympic champion Alex Zanardi, seriously injured in a handbike accident 10 days ago, has undergone neurological surgery for a second time, a hospital statement said on Monday.

The Santa Maria alle Scotte hospital in Siena said that the surgery had lasted around two-and-a-half hours and that Zanardi, who suffered severe head injuries in the accident on June 19, was sedated and intubated in the intensive care unit.

“His condition remains stable from the cardio-respiratory and metabolic point of view, serious from the neurological point of view,” said the statement. Hospital director Roberto Gusinu said that a second surgery had been envisaged by doctors beforehand.

The 53-year-old Italian is an inspirational figure in the worlds of motorsport and Paralympic endeavour, a hugely popular and positive competitor who returned from life-changing injuries with a smile.

He had both legs amputated above the knee, with his heart stopping seven times as he lost all but a litre of the blood in his body, after a horrific crash in a Champ car race at the Lausitzring in Germany in September 2001.

He later turned to paracycling and won a total of four Paralympic gold medals, two each at London in 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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