The family of injured Formula One Racer Jules Bianchi has released a statement today, naming the specific injury incurred and thanking motorsports fans worldwide for their outpouring of support.
Bianchi lost control of his car at the extremely wet Japanese Grand Prix and hit a recovery vehicle at a corner where Adrian Sutil's car was being towed away. His family released this statement today on Marussia's website:
A Statement from the family of Jules Bianchi
7 October 2014, 23.00hrs local/15.00hrs BST
The following statement is provided by the family of Jules Bianchi, in conjunction with the Mie General Medical Center, and is distributed on their behalf by the Marussia F1 Team.
"This is a very difficult time for our family, but the messages of support and affection for Jules from all over the world have been a source of great comfort to us. We would like to express our sincere appreciation.
Jules remains in the Intensive Care Unit of the Mie General Medical Center in Yokkaichi. He has suffered a diffuse axonal injury and is in a critical but stable condition. The medical professionals at the hospital are providing the very best treatment and care and we are grateful for everything they have done for Jules since his accident.
We are also grateful for the presence of Professor Gerard Saillant, President of the FIA Medical Commission, and Professor Alessandro Frati, Neurosurgeon of the University of Rome La Sapienza, who has travelled to Japan at the request of Scuderia Ferrari. They arrived at the hospital today and met with the medical personnel responsible for Jules' treatment, in order to be fully informed of his clinical status so that they are able to advise the family. Professors Saillant and Frati acknowledge the excellent care being provided by the Mie General Medical Center and would like to thank their Japanese colleagues.
The hospital will continue to monitor and treat Jules and further medical updates will be provided when appropriate."
The term "diffuse axonal injury" means that damage has occurred in more of a widespread area of the brain (as opposed to a focal brain injury). Approximately half of all severe head trauma cases involve diffuse axonal injuries. Axonal refers to the disruption of the axons in the brain which allow neurons to communicate with each other. Shearing impacts such as Bianchi's cause tissue to rub rapidly against other tissue in the brain, causing extensive lesions in the white matter tracts of axons in the brain.
What happens next is unclear, though certainly everyone's thoughts are with his family, team, friends and loved ones as Bianchi recovers. In the meantime, here's an interview the young driver did with Will Buxton earlier in the year:
Photo credit: Getty Images