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Manager: Schumacher showing “small, encouraging signs”

Mar 12, 2014, 8:47 AM EDT

Mercedes Formula One driver Schumacher sprays champagne during the podium ceremony after the European F1 Grand Prix at the Valencia street circuit Reuters

The first official word of Michael Schumacher’s improvement has been relayed Wednesday from his manager and spokesperson, Sabine Kehm.

Official reports have been minimal since Schumacher’s skiing accident December 29.

Today Kehm said in a statement released to media that Schumacher is showing occasional “small, encouraging signs” but warns to “be patient.”

Additionally, she said the time of the recovery process isn’t as important. Still, the fact she has said there are signs of progress is a first, and a very important bit of news.

The full statement reads as follows:

“We are and remain confident that Michael will pull through and will wake up. There sometimes are small, encouraging signs, but we also know that this is the time to be very patient.

“Michael has suffered severe injuries. It is very hard to comprehend for all of us that Michael, who had overcome a lot of precarious situations in the past, has been hurt so terribly in such a banal situation.

“It was clear from the start that this will be a long and hard fight for Michael. We are taking this fight on together with the team of doctors, whom we fully trust. The length of the process is not the important part for us.”

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