MICHAEL Schumacher's health remains a mystery – but he's reported to have undergone "secret" pioneering medical treatment, with hopes it could rebuild the legendary F1 ace.
The former Ferrari and Mercedes driver is reported to have received medical care costing as much as £115,000-a-week as his family, friends and pals all hope he can recover from his horror ski crash.
Schumacher's health has been shrouded in secrecy since he suffered a catastrophic brain injury while skiing in 2013.
But it has been reported the Formula One champion has had a team of 15 nurses and doctors offering around-the-clock care for him.
The 53-year-old was placed in a medically induced coma for almost six months after the accident while he was on the slopes with his son Mick.
It was reported after the ski crash he had surgery to remove blood clots from his brain.
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But in June 2014, he was discharged from hospital so he could receive treatment at his family home near Switzerland's Lake Geneva.
His family have reportedly been forced to sell off Schumacher's beloved private jet and holiday home in Norway – worth an estimated £25m – in a bid to cover his medical costs.
And only small trickles of information have been released since, with reports that Schumacher remains in a wheelchair and can react to things around him.
However, in 2019, it was reported that Schumacher was set to undergo breakthrough stem cell therapy in a bid to regenerate and rebuild his nervous system.
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Renowned French cardiologist Dr Philippe Menasche, who had operated on him previously, was due to carry out the treatment to transfer cells from Schumacher's heart to his brain.
In stem cell therapy, cells are taken from either bone marrow or the patient's own heart and injected into other parts of the body in order to repair damaged tissue.
Italian neurosurgeon Dr Nicola Acciari said at the time that the legendary driver was suffering from muscle degeneration and osteoporosis as a result of being bed-bound for so many years.
She said: "The goal is to regenerate Michael's nervous system."
French journalist Jean-Michel Décugis told The Times that the stem cell therapy will have an "anti-inflammatory effect" which will most likely impact the brain.
He said: "Our sources say that Michael Schumacher is receiving stem cell perfusions that… produce a systemic anti-inflammatory effect.
"That is to say they reach the whole body and you could imagine that they reach Michael Schumacher's brain.
"It's quite mysterious. Officially [Menasché] works only on the heart.
"He is carrying out experiments with [secretome] that is made by a laboratory from new stem cells and injected into veins, until now only on animals."
Mr Décugis also claims that Schumacher is being injected with secretome – protein found in the human body – which he says Menasche calls "stem cell juice."
Dr Menasche however warned fans that he "does not work miracles" following the first widely-reported stem cell therapy on the sports star in October 2018.
He also slammed claims he was carrying out "experiments" on the legendary racing driver.
And in September 2019, he said details of Schumacher’s treatment would remain "secret" for reasons of medical confidentiality.
Following the treatment at the Georges Pompidou Hospital in Paris, France, he was said to be "conscious", although few other details were given about his condition.
And years since he is claimed to have undergone the treatment, there has been no concrete updates – amid reports that the Schumacher family are seeking to spend the winter months at a new property in Majorca.
In 2020, his former boss and close friend Jean Todt revealed Schuey was receiving treatment tailored to help him "return to a more normal life".
Todt, who oversaw five of Schumacher's seven titles as Ferrari team boss, is one of just a handful of visitors allowed to see him at home.
"I am very discreet on this subject," he told Ouest France. "We all know that Michael had a very serious accident and, unfortunately, it had significant consequences for him.
"Since then, he has been treated so that he can be able to return to a more normal life."
Last month, Schuey's wife Corinna broke down in tears – and she has previously admitted the F1 hero "is different now".
As she accepted the State Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia on her stricken husband's behalf, she became emotional as she commented on her husband's condition.
And speaking on the Netflix documentary Schumacher, she said: "I miss Michael every day.
"But it's not just me who misses him, it's the children, his father, everyone around him."
Although she admitted he was "different," she insisted that "he's here and that gives us strength".
Corinna also offered a brief glimpse as their life at home.
She said: "We're together. We live together at home. We do therapy.
"We do everything we can to make Michael better and to make sure he's comfortable. And to simply make him feel our family, our bond."
Former boss Ross Brawn told The Guardian in 2016 he still visits his friend regularly.
"Michael was such a strong character and all through his racing career he only suffered a broken leg," he said. "The irony of this happening during a quieter life was terrible."
He went on: "We go see him and hope and pray that one day he will make a recovery. I was quoted as saying he’s improving and it was not what I really meant. The family are conducting his convalescence in private and I need to respect that.
"So I don’t want to comment on his condition beyond saying we’re extremely hopeful we’ll see Michael as we knew him at some point in the future."
Speaking just before his 50th birthday, she reassured his supporters that he was in "good hands" and that the family were doing "everything humanly possible to help him".
Todt also told Radio Monte-Carlo in 2019 that he had watched F1 races with the legendary driver on TV.
"I'm always careful with such statements, but it's true. I saw the race together with Michael Schumacher at his home in Switzerland."
Meanwhile, sources – described as "close relatives" – claimed in French magazine Paris Match back in 2018 that Schumacher cries when he sees natural beauty.
They said: "When you put him in his wheelchair facing the beautiful panorama of the mountains overlooking the lake, Michael sometimes cries."
Michael is one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time, dominating the sport in the early 2000s after rising to power in the 90s.
He raced from 1991 to 2006, and again from 2010 to 2012 – a second act of his career which saw him become instrumental in setting up Lewis Hamilton's dominant Mercedes team.
The German won five world championships with Ferrari and two for Benetton.
Schumacher retired in 2012, but just a year later he was involved in a life-changing skiing accident while on the slopes with Mick.
And meanwhile, Schumacher's former manager Willi Weber accused the star's family of lying about his condition.
The 80-year-old said he is still "angry" that the brood hasn't updated him on the F1 icon's health since his skiing accident nine years ago.
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He took swipes at both Corinna and Jean Todt, saying: "They kept me out, telling me it’s too early, well now it’s too late."
Weber initially understood the need for secrecy from the Schumacher family but that since he got out of hospital, "we have only heard lies from them".
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