The brain injured urged to 'keep fighting'

The Keep Fighting Initiative, launched by Michael Schumacher's family, is about hope and courage - essential in the long recovery from a brain injury.

Former Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher's life completely changed gears on December 29, 2013, after suffering a traumatic brain injury in a skiing accident in the French Alps.

As an act of gratitude for all the love and support received since, Schumacher's family have launched an initiative to help others inspired by the former Ferrari driver's career and character to 'keep fighting' in the face of adversity.

"We would like to encourage others to never give up," the stricken German racer's wife Corinna said in a statement presenting the not-for-profit movement at the weekend.

The Keep Fighting Initiative aims to spread the positive energy that supporters of Schumacher have expressed to him and the family.

His manager Sabine Kehm says 'Keep Fighting' is about courage, hope and belief in your own confidence.

Courage and hope are indispensable to maximising a patients recovery from a traumatic brain injury, says Brain Injury Australia executive officer Nick Rushworth, who has welcomed the initiative that will support brain research.

Mr Rushworth says suffering a brain injury is a watershed event in a person's life where everything changes and the recovery isn't just simply the application of effort.

"What is equally as important is the retention of hope," Mr Rushwroth told AAP.

"People are often told in recovery from traumatic brain injury, like that experienced by Michael Schumacher, that they have two years of recovery but in fact its more like five to 10 years, recovery can continue for that long.

"The recovery from a brain injury is a marathon not a sprint," he added.

There are more than 700,000 Australians with an acquired brain injury. The majority of those were caused by stroke and many from traumatic brain injury.

Roughly two in five people who have suffered such an event will make a good physical recovery from their brain injury.

But there is still the "hidden disabilities" that are harder to recognise and often ignored.

"Where the rubber meets the road in brain injury is cognitive and behavioural disabilities. So someone might look to a friend or family member perfectly 'normal' but they have great difficulties with concentration, attention, planning an organisation," Mr Rushworth said.

Schumacher, the most successful F1 driver of all time with 91 wins including a record four Australian Grand Prix titles, turns 48 in January.

He has been treated at home in Switzerland since he was released from hospital in September 2014.

Few details about the champion's condition have been made public and Kehm said that silence would be maintained.

"Michael's health is not a public issue, and so we will continue to make no comment in that regard. This is also because we have to protect his intimate sphere," she said in a statement.

Source AAP

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