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Alex Zanardi ‘serious but stable’ after second surgery for head injuries - The Washington Post

Alex Zanardi remains in a medically induced coma following his June 19 crash. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

By Cindy Boren

Cindy Boren

Reporter covering sports, with an emphasis on politics and national stories

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July 1 at 8:30 AM

Alex Zanardi, a four-time Paralympic gold medalist, is in “serious but stable” condition after having a second operation for head injuries he suffered June 19 in a handbike crash.

Zanardi, who became a world-class athlete in his second career after both legs were amputated following an auto racing crash, lost control of his handbike and collided with a truck during the Obiettivo Tricolore road race near Pienza, Italy. The 53-year-old remains in a medically induced coma after the 2½-hour surgery, according to a statement from Santa Maria alle Scotte University Hospital in Siena. It added that there would be further updates if “significant developments” warrant.

“His condition remains stable from the cardiorespiratory and metabolic point of view, grave from the neurological point of view,” the statement read (via the Associated Press). Roberto Gusinu, the hospital’s director, said doctors knew all along a second surgery would be likely.

Last week, Pope Francis sent Zanardi a handwritten letter of encouragement.

“Dearest Alessandro, your story is an example of how to start again after an unforeseen stop. Through sport, you have taught us to live life as a protagonist, teaching a lesson of humanity through disability. Thank you for having given strength to those who have lost it. In this painful moment, I am close to you and I pray for you and your family.”

Zanardi drove in Formula One from 1991 to 1994 and again in 1999; from 1996 to 1998, he drove in the U.S.-based CART circuit, winning titles in 1997 and 1998. He crashed during a race in Germany in 2001, and both legs had to be amputated. He resumed racing in 2004, competing for BMW in what became the World Touring Car Championship.

Besides winning two gold medals each in the 2012 London and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympics, Zanardi has won 12 world championships and the 2011 New York City Marathon.

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