Paralympic champ Zanardi to be kept in coma for at least a week

Former Italian Formula One driver and Paralympic champion Alex Zanardi will remain in coma for at least a week after a crash on his handbike, his hospital said in a medical bulletin. Zanardi was said to be in stable conditions and has spent five nights in intensive care at Santa Maria alle Scotte Hospital.

“Eventual reductions of the (coma), in order to evaluate his neurological state, will be taken into consideration starting next week,” the hospital said.

The 53-year-old crashed into a truck while on his handbike. Zanardi had two stints in F1 before he lost both his legs in a horrific crash in a CART race in Germany in 2001.

However, he has since transitioned into a successful career in handbike racing. Zanardi also designed his own prosthetics and learned to walk again.

As a para-cyclist he finished fourth in the New York Marathon on debut in 2008. He was still racing in specially designed cars at the time but he later abandoned motor sports to pursue a full time career in para-cycling.

He would go on to win two gold medals at the London Paralympics in 2012 and then repeat the feat at Rio 2016. He also won a silver each in Rio and London.