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Albrecht awake, lung damage the biggest hurdle left

Daniel Albrecht has been brought out of a three week artificial coma and Swiss Team Doctor Hans Spring reported to members of the press at Val d’Isere for the World Championships it is still way too early to determine if he will be able to rejoin his teammates on the race courses.Daniel Albrecht has been brought out of a three week artificial coma and Swiss Team Doctor Hans Spring reported to members of the press at Val d’Isere for the World Championships it is still way too early to determine if he will be able to rejoin his teammates on the race courses.

Albrecht crashed just above the finish line of the Kitzbuehel downhill course in training Jan. 22 and was airlifted to Innsbruck. Doctors placed him in a coma to reduce the risk of swelling in the brain. After ten days the procedure for awakening him was halted due to complications in the lungs. He was brought out of the coma Thursday, Feb. 12.

Dr. Spring said Albrecht is responding when asked to squeeze a hand and can interact with family around him. There appears to be no neurological damage, and the main concerns are with his lungs. His lungs experienced some bleeding and bacterial infection and were not at 100 percent throughout much of his hospitalization. This partial functioning could mean difficulty for an athlete at the top of any sport, but Spring said “since he is not running a marathon, we think he might be alright,” for alpine racing,

He said Albrecht has some problems with his voice as well due to the lengthy period in a coma with tubes inserted.

“He is just coming awake so how much he can tolerate we don’t know.” There is no timetable for moving him from Innsbruck to Switzerland.

Spring said the process has been, and will continue to be, a slow one. “We don’t know what he can tolerate,” adding that he did not anticipate he would watch any of the World Championships on television. “To see the Swiss ski down is a lot to tolerate,” he said.

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