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Famed Paralympian in Coma After Terrible Crash

'All of Italy is fighting with you,' PM tells Zanardi
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2020 8:29 AM CDT

(Newser) – After a horrific CART racing crash in 2001 cost him both his legs, Alex Zanardi built his own prosthetics and made an incredible comeback as a Paralympic athlete, winning gold in handcycling four times. Now, a second horrific crash for Zanardi. The 53-year-old former Formula One driver was placed in a medically induced coma Friday after suffering severe head injuries in a crash in Tuscany, Italy, CNN reports. Witnesses say he lost control of his handbike during a downhill section of the "Obiettivo tricolore" relay race and veered into the oncoming lane, where he was hit by a truck.

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Zanardi was in surgery for more than three hours after the crash and doctors say they are very concerned about possible brain damage, the AP reports. "The condition of Alex Zanardi is serious but stable," Dr. Giuseppe Olivieri told reporters outside a hospital in Siena Saturday. "He arrived here with major facial cranial trauma, a smashed face, and a deeply fractured frontal bone." He added: "We won’t see what his neurological state is until he wakes up—if he wakes up." "You have never given up and with your extraordinary fortitude you have overcome a thousand difficulties," Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte said, per the BBC. "Come on Alex Zanardi, don't give up. All of Italy is fighting with you." (Read more Paralympics stories.)

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