Schumacher unchanged; attention on helmets
Former world champion race-car driver Michael Schumacher was in stable condition in Grenoble, France, with no significant changes in the 24 hours since his doctors met reporters Tuesday, his manager said Wednesday.
Schumacher, 44, remained in critical condition, in a medically induced coma and on life support systems after two brain operations.
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Doctors have refused to give a prognosis for Schumacher, saying they are focused on his immediate care.
Schumacher’s injury focused attention on an unsettling trend. Although skiers and snowboarders in the United States are wearing helmets more than ever — 70 percent of all participants, nearly triple the number from 2003 — there has been no reduction in the number of snow-sports-related fatalities or brain injuries, according to the National Ski Areas Association.
Experts ascribe that seemingly implausible correlation to the inability of helmets to prevent serious head injuries like Schumacher’s and to the fact that more skiers and snowboarders are engaging in risky behaviors: skiing faster, jumping higher and going out of bounds.
“The equipment we have now allows us to do things we really couldn’t do before, and people’s pushing limits has sort of surpassed people’s ability to control themselves,” said Chris Davenport, a professional big-mountain skier.
The increase in helmet use has had positive results. Experts say helmets have reduced the number of less serious head injuries, like scalp lacerations, by 30 percent to 50 percent, and Schumacher’s doctors say he would not have survived his fall had he not worn a helmet. But growing evidence indicates that helmets do not prevent some more serious injuries, like the tearing of delicate brain tissue, said Jasper Shealy, a professor emeritus at Rochester Institute of Technology who has been studying snow-sports-related injuries at Sugarbush resort in Vermont for more than 30 years.
U.S. picks Olympic teams
The U.S. Olympic men’s and women’s teams were announced.
Bobby Ryan was perhaps the most surprising omission on the men’s roster. Jack Johnson and Erik Johnson, a pair of defensemen who played in the 2010 Games, also didn’t make the cut.
Jimmy Howard appears to be the Americans’ third goaltender behind Jonathan Quick and Ryan Miller.
On the women’s roster, NCAA player of the year Amanda Kessel from Minnesota earned a place after her brother Phil — a forward for the Toronto Maple Leafs — earned a place on the men’s team.
Eleven returning Olympians are on the women’s roster.
Mayer beats Murray
Andy Murray of Britain, playing in his first tournament since back surgery in late September, was upset by Florian Mayer of Germany 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the second round of the Qatar Open in Doha. Top-ranked Rafael Nadal of Spain was also taken to three sets but earned a 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3 win over Tobias Kamke of Germany.
In India, top-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland advanced comfortably but second-seeded Mikhail Youzhny of Russia quit during his second-round match due to a stomach infection in the Chennai Open.
In Australia, Roger Federer of Switzerland advanced to the Brisbane International quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Jarkko Nieminen of Finland. American Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova of Russia will meet in the semifinals after Williams beat Diminika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-3, and Sharapova downed Kaia Kanepi from Estonia 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
At the Hopman Cup in Perth, France beat the United States 2-1 to stay unbeaten in its group. Sloane Stephens beat Alizé Cornet 7-5, 6-0, but Jo-Wilfried Tsonga downed John Isner 7-6 (7-1), 6-3 and the French won the doubles tiebreaker 10-5.
In Auckland, New Zealand, Venus Williams and Ana Ivanovic moved closer to a semifinal meeting when they won second-round matches at the ASB Classic.
In China, top-seeded Li Na extended her defense of the Shenzhen Open title to the quarterfinals by easing past Ukraine’s Nadiya Kichenok 6-1, 6-4.
Lehman qualifies in 10,000
With a powerful finishing kick, 17-year-old speedskater Emery Lehman from suburban Chicago claimed a second race at the Sochi Olympics by knocking off Jonathan Kuck in the 10,000 meters on the final day of the U.S. trials in Kearns, Utah.
In the women’s 5,000, Maria Lamb, 27, from Wisconsin, earned her third trip to the Olympics with a win over Petra Acker.
• Arsenal stayed in first place in the English Premier League after scoring two late goals in a 2-0 victory over Cardiff.
• Masters champion Adam Scott is taking a six-week break after two Hawaii events, meaning he will skip the Match Play Championship and the entire West Coast Swing.
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