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Sunday, September 16
Zanardi remains in 'induced coma'
Associated Press

Alex Zanardi
BERLIN -- Alex Zanardi's condition was unchanged Tuesday, but the star driver faces another operation from the crash that forced the amputation of both legs.

"Basically he's the same as yesterday -- he's still stable," Dr. Gert Schroeter, part of a team of physicians treating the 34-year-old Italian, said Tuesday.

Doctors have said Zanardi's life is no longer immediately threatened, although he remains in an "induced coma." The biggest danger remains delayed kidney or heart failure, a reaction to the heavy loss of tissue and muscle.

Zanardi, a two-time CART champion and one of the circuit's most popular drivers, is to have a third operation Wednesday to check for fragments and infection.

His legs were amputated at the knees following a crash Saturday at the American Memorial 500, CART's first race in Europe. He lost control of his Honda Reynard, spun backward and was hit by Canada's Alex Tagliani at 200 mph.

Zanardi also sustained a small pelvis fracture and concussion but escaped internal or head injuries. Doctors were encouraged after Monday's operation.

"Everything looks fine at the moment. There are no infections, the skin looks good, the muscles look good. We hope it stays that way," said Walter Schaffartzik, who leads the team of physicians.

Doctors have begun reducing the fluids and drugs fed Zanardi, who is breathing with a ventilator, to slowly bring him out of the induced coma.

Friends, family, drivers and CART officials held a vigil in the Berlin trauma center, where he was airlifted for treatment, since Saturday night.

After Zanardi's condition was upgraded Monday, many drivers and CART officials left for Saturday's race in Corby, England.

"Given the severity of the crash, it's gone as well as we could have hoped for. Everybody's smiling and talking now," Honda spokesman Dan Layton said.

Among the two dozen people at the hospital were Zanardi's wife, Daniela, and his closest driver friends -- Johnny Herbert, Jimmy Vasser, Tony Kanaan and Dario Franchitti -- and actress Ashley Judd.

Tagliani joined the vigil after being released Sunday with minor back injuries

Zanardi, seeking his first victory of the year, was leading the American Memorial with 12 laps left before heading back from a pit stop.

Tagliani's Ford ripped through Zanardi's nearly stationary car and sheared it in half, with the explosion hurling the red nosecone into the air.

The race originally was called the German 500 but was renamed in tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks.

Zanardi's 3-year-old son is in Italy with grandparents while Daniela stays with her husband.

"He'll be up and around," Herbert said. "He's a very doting father and he'll want to play with his son."

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