Ralf’s secret injury could thwart non-comeback

Ralf Schumacher’s doubtful involvement with the doubtful F1 debutante Stefan GP has become even more doubtful after news (this seems relatively likely) of a shoulder injury he sustained on his winter skiing holiday.

Once again it falls to me to explain the wonderful, virtually quote-less, world of German tabloid media. The Express daily has “discovered” that “Schumi II” – as they call him – kept the January injury secret, and the paper speculates that maybe the interest in/from Stefan GP is why Ralf was so quiet. And now, the paper reports, it’s gotten worse. My translation of the most important bits (there are basically no quotes) follows, and sorry for the tabloid style, it’s what I have to work with!

Accident #1: Ralf went skiing on January 18th with a few DTM colleagues at Vorarlberg (Austrian Alps). On a descent, he slipped on a patch of ice and fell hard on his right shoulder. A crazy pain, off to the doctor!

Famous sports surgeon Dr. Christian Schenk in the town of Schruns diagnosed a dislocated shoulder with a ripped acetabular/lip (NB: here my medical knowledge runs out, “Gelenkpfannenlippe” is the German). The operation went smoothly, and Ralf had no reason to fear any long term problems with movement in the joint. However, the Mercedes DTM driver wanted to keep the accident and his injury secret.

Why? Perhaps because the news might have disturbed his desires to make an F1 comeback with the new StefanGP team (the Serbs are cooperating with Toyota) into a genuine possibility?

Accident #2 has brought the whole story to light. At the “Ball of Sports” (a celeb event here) on Saturday in Wiesbaden, Ralf tripped on a flight of stairs and nearly plummeted down 10 steps. However a strong hand steadied him, namely that of Kurt Klühspies. (A 58 year-old German Handball legend.)

Klühspies told the Express:

“I noticed that someone behind me had begun to stumble – it was Ralf Schumacher. I grabbed him with my left hand, my throwing hand. But I grabbed the shoulder that he’d been operated on. Obviously, it hurt Ralf quite badly, but still, he thanked me and said: Better a painful arm than falling down all those steps.”

Moral of the story: Even good luck can be bad.

Bless the Express! That really is how they write.

As for Ralf Schumacher – well, it’s another possible setback to his possible return with a possible team. Not much really, but more than enough to get Germany’s knickers in a twist.

Personally, I’m really not convinced that him trying to cover up an off-season injury has anything to do with his ambitions – or not – of returning to F1. Many sportsmen and women prefer to cover up personal injury, unless it’s going to cause them to miss action – then they have to offer an explanation.

The article also mentions, however, that Schumi was temporarily banned even from driving his road car on doctor’s orders. Now, perhaps his recovery was swift, but that surely doesn’t bode too well for the coming DTM season, either.

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