Alex Zanardi has been involved in a serious accident while taking part in the national Paralympic handbike ‘Obiettivo tricolore’ relay race on Friday.
Zanardi, who has launched a successful career as a para-athlete since losing his legs in a CART accident at the Lausitzring in 2001, was competing in the early stages of the event, before being involved in an accident involving a 'heavy vehicle'.
A statement from the hospital read: "He was immediately taken care of by the first aid professionals and evaluated in the shock room.
"His condition is very serious for the severe head trauma reported, and he is currently undergoing a delicate neurosurgery intervention."
The Gazzetta dello Sport report the 53-year-old Italian lost control of his handbike on a downhill section, before veering into oncoming traffic.
The publication also quoted a bulletin from the hospital where Zanardi is being treated as saying he was undergoing "delicate neurosurgery" for a serious head injury.
A later statement from the hospital read: "The management of health informs that the neurosurgery and maxillofacial surgery undergone by the athlete, due to the severe head trauma, began shortly after 19.00 and finished at 21.30.
"The patient was transferred to intensive care, with a reserved prognosis. His health is very serious."
Zanardi had stints with Jordan, Minardi, Lotus and Williams in Formula 1, and has since switched focus to para-athletics, winning four gold medals across the 2012 and 2016 games.
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