Paralympic gold medalist and former Formula One driver Alex Zanardi is in a medically induced coma after suffering severe head injury during a bicycling race in Italy, according to a CNN report on Saturday.
Zanardi, who had both legs amputated 20 years ago after a car racing accident, lost control of his handbike during the Obiettivo Tricolore relay race in Italy on Friday, the network reported.
Multiple reports said Zanardi crossed into the path of an oncoming truck.
The 53-year-old was airlifted to the Santa Maria alle Scotte hospital in Siena, where he underwent three hours of brain surgery.
A statement released by the hospital said Zanardi was “stable” and was in intensive care.
“He is intubated and supported by artificial ventilation while the neurological picture remains serious,” the statement said.
Since news of the athlete’s hospitalization broke, he has received warm well-wishes.
Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte tweeted:“No Alex, no! Come on Alex # Zanardi, don’t give up. All of Italy is fighting with you. ”
Zanardi’s former team Williams Racing also tweeted encouragement: “The thoughts of our whole team are with former driver Alex Zanardi after he was injured in an accident bike hand earlier today.
“Alex is one of life’s truly inspirational people and as we all know, a fighter through and through. Stay strong and Forza Alex. ”