Hans Grugger awoken from coma

Updated: January 31, 2011, 11:21 AM ET
Associated Press

INNSBRUCK, Austria -- Austrian skier Hans Grugger awoke from an induced coma and was breathing on his own on Monday, 11 days after undergoing brain surgery following a near-fatal downhill training crash.

"Respiration has improved so well that we have been able to remove the breathing machine," University Hospital medical director Alexandra Kofler said. "The patient is now breathing unaided."

Kofler said doctors would start neurological tests Tuesday, which could indicate the skier's recovery.

Grugger was regaining consciousness and was showing reactions for the first time since doctors started trying to wake him from the coma six days ago.

"He sometimes opens his eyes spontaneously and he presses his hands when asked to do so," said Kofler, who added that Grugger's reactions were "still very short."

The 29-year-old Grugger smashed his head on the icy slope after a crash on the Streif course in Kitzbuehel and underwent a 5-hour emergency operation.

After a similar accident two years ago, Swiss skier Daniel Albrecht suffered brain and lung injuries and was kept in an induced coma for 16 days before fully recovering and returning to World Cup ski racing.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE