Zanardi back in intensive care in hospital as condition worsens
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By Alvise Armellini
ROME – Italian former Formula One driver and Paralympic champion Alex Zanardi was taken back to hospital on Friday and placed under intensive care, in a setback for his recovery prospects.
The 53-year-old was transferred to the San Raffaele hospital in Milan because his clinical condition had become “unstable”, a statement said.
The information came from the Valduce hospital in Como, which runs the Villa Beretta rehabilitation clinic, where Zanardi was taken on Tuesday after spending more than a month in a hospital in Siena.
In a separate statement, the San Raffaele said that Zanardi arrived in an ambulance at 4.30 pm (1430 GMT). Doctors are conducting the first tests to verify his clinical state, it added.
Three days ago, Siena's Santa Maria alle Scotte hospital judged Zanardi fit enough to leave its intensive care unit and start “the necessary neuro rehabilitation” at Villa Beretta.
The following day his son Niccolo gave an interview to Italian daily Corriere della Sera in which he sounded confident about his father's chances.
“Dad will make it, I am sure. He will make it also this time. And one day we will talk about it. He will talk to me and also my [future] children. I am hopeful, and so is mum,” he said.
Zanardi is known for a never-give-up attitude.
He suffered major brain and skull injuries in a June 19 road crash during a handbike relay event in Tuscany. In Siena, he was operated on three times and kept in an induced coma until last week.
Zanardi has been disabled since 2001, when he lost both of his legs in a CART Championship crash at the German EuroSpeedway Lausitz race track.
The accident did not stop him. He switched from car racing to paracycling, and won four gold and two silver medals at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics.