Former Formula One driver Alex Zanardi has shown “signs of interaction” as the Paralympic champion remains in semi-intensive care after an horrific road accident, doctors said on Thursday.
In a statement, the San Raffaele hospital in Milan said the 53-year-old “responds with transient and initial signs of interaction with the environment” to visual and acoustic stimuli.
“Despite this significant progress doctors stress that given the persistent complex overall clinical situation it is far too early to make a prognosis.”
Zanardi has in recent days undergone carnio-facial reconstruction after suffering serious head injuries when he lost control of his handbike during a road race in Tuscany and crashed into an oncoming truck on June 19.
“A first intervention has already been successfully performed, a few days ago, and a second is already planned for the next few weeks,” the hospital said.
Zanardi had both his legs amputated after a motor racing accident in 2001 at the Lausitzring track in Germany, and has since become one of the best-known figures in Paralympic sports.
Zanardi raced for Jordan, Minardi and Lotus in F1 in the early 1990s before switching to the CART championship in the United States where he was series champion in 1997 and 1998.
He returned to F1 with Williams in 1999 before heading back to CART.
Zanardi won two gold medals at the 2012 London Paralympic Games and four years later won two more in Rio de Janeiro.