UPDATE: June 21, 7:30am ET: Alex Zanardi remains in stable but serious condition at the Santa Maria alle Scotte hospital in Siena, Italy, following his accident during a handbike race on Friday which left the racing legend with major head injuries. Zanardi remains in a medically induced coma following his surgery on Friday night, and doctors are unable yet to make predictions about how fully or quickly the 53-year-old Italian may recover from his injuries.
“The patient spent the night in conditions of cardio-respiratory and metabolic stability. Organ functions are adequate,” the hospital announced in a statement Sunday morning, adding that Zanardi continues to be “sedated, intubated and mechanically ventilated.
“The ongoing neuromonitoring has shown some stability but this data must be taken with caution because the neurological picture remains serious,” the hospital statement concluded. “The current conditions of general stability still do not allow to exclude the possibility of adverse events and, therefore, the patient remains in a reserved prognosis.”
UPDATE: June 20, 8:30am ET: The Santa Maria alle Scotte hospital in Siena issued a new update Saturday morning on the condition of racing legend Alex Zanardi, who suffered serious head injuries in a road accident during a handbike race on Friday. While stating that his condition is stable, the hospital noted that his condition remains “very serious.”
The full statement, translated from the original Italian, is as follows:
“Regarding the clinical condition of the athlete Alex Zanardi, hospitalized from 1800 (hours) on June 19 in very serious condition at the Santa Maria alle Scotte hospital following a road accident that occurred in the province of Siena… the patient, subjected to a delicate neurosurgical intervention on the evening of June 19, and subsequently transferred to intensive care, has stable hemodynamic and metabolic parameters.
“He is intubated and supported by artificial ventilation while the neurological picture remains serious.”
Giuseppe Oliveri, director of neurosurgery at the hospital, offered additional on Zanardi’s condition in a press briefing on Saturday.
“He arrived with facial fracture and a sunken fracture of the frontal bones,” Oliveri told Corriere della Sera. “He will have to remain sedated and ventilated, allowing the secondary damage as a result of the trauma to stabilize over time.
“The improvement, if any, will be very slow over time. Assessments of the neurological situation will be made when he wakes up, if he wakes up. It is useless to speculate today how it will go – I just know that I am absolutely convinced that it is worth treating him.”
UPDATE, June 19, 6:45pm ET: Alex Zanardi has been moved to intensive care following three hours of surgery after suffering what were described as “very serious” head injuries in crash during a handbike race on Friday.
“Regarding the clinical condition of Alex Zanardi, hospitalized in a very serious condition at the Santa Maria alle Scotte hospital due to a road accident [that] occurred in the province of Siena, the Siena Health Director informs that the neurosurgical and maxillofacial intervention to which the athlete was subjected, due to the serious head injury, started shortly after 7pm and ended shortly before 10pm,” said a statement issued by the hospital, translated from its original Italian. “The patient was then transferred to intensive care, with a reserved prognosis. His health condition is very serious.”
The 56-year-old two-time CART champion and four-time Paralympic gold medalist reportedly veered out the closed racing lane and onto the open side of the road toward oncoming traffic during a descent, where he collided with a truck. According to La Repubblica Florence, medical personnel arrived on the scene 20 minutes later, whereupon Zanardi was airlifted to hospital.