The Marussia F1 Team has put out a statement on behalf of the Bianchi family, in conjunction with the Mie General Medical Center. Jules Bianchi remains in the intensive care unit at the hospital and is listed as being in a critical but stable condition. The statement says that he has suffered from “a diffuse axonal injury”. 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, are both at the hospital and have met with medical personnel responsible for Jules’s treatment.
A diffuse axonal injury is not the result of a blow to the head, but rather is caused by the brain moving back and forth within the skull as a result of extreme acceleration or deceleration. The injury is very common in automobile accidents. The movement of the brain within the skull causes lesions to the brain tissues, which cause permanent damage to the brain.
The initial treatment is to reduce swelling in the brain as much as possible as this can cause additional damage. However, surgery cannot repair the damage done. It is, however, impossible at this stage for anyone other than the doctors to say how bad the long-term effects of these injuries will be. However it must also be noted that severe diffuse axonal injury is a significant cause of death in patients with traumatic brain injury and is also a frequent cause of persistent vegetative state. It may not be that bad, but we must be prepared for all possibilities.