Michael Schumacher loves Skiing.
He owns a house in Courchevel, near the French Alps resort of Meribel, a region that is well known for hosting celebrity families over the festive period.
And so it became on the 29th December whilst on just such a Christmas family getaway that the Formula 1 Motor Racing legend had the most terrible accident.
The resulting head trauma required immediate surgery for a brain haemorrhage, and left Schumacher in a coma that lasted for months.
Fast forward to 16th June. Schumacher's Manager Sabine Kehm announces that the driving ace is no longer in a Coma, and has left Grenoble Hospital France, apparently transferred to University Hospital Lausanne in Switzerland.
Between the two (some 6 months) Official updates on Schumacher's state of health have been virtually nonexistent, with small snippets fed here and there at lengthy intervals, the general modus operandi from the 'Schumi' camp has been to ask for privacy and time.
I can fully understand the families wish for space during this most difficult of crisis right at the heart of their family, but just can't help feeling the handling of the situation has been a little naive.
Yesterday evening (23rd June) news broke that Schumacher's medical records had been stolen, and were allegedly for sale to the highest bidder.
Whilst this news is utterly wretched for the family, and is quite obviously a deplorable act of callous greedy behaviour if true, my less emotional more pragmatic reaction upon reading the story was that this is a highly predictable outcome, given the drought of information being supplied to the media by the formal channels.
By being so Spartan with updates, and starving the fans appetite for credible progress reports, the Schumacher camp effectively created the market that the individual responsible for this theft is now trading within. And whilst I deplore the act and the greedy motivation that it's driven by, I can't help but feel that there would be much less value in the purchase of the Schumacher's medical records had more interaction with the media taken place beforehand.
For the family I'm sure that they couldn't care less about the wider World and it's appetite for news, but that doesn't mean you can ignore it, especially when we are talking about the health of one of the World's most famous sportsmen. The bubble they have created to live in is completely valid, however in today's global 24 hour instant media market you have to play the game, even if just for a little while now and then, to keep the monster fed and it's pack of hired Wolves from your door.
Schumacher's spokesperson didn't confirm the theft of the records directly, instead opting to issue a threat of legal action in the face of any purchase or publication of private medical information. The rest is left to the surrounding factors or hearsay to add 2 and 2 to make 4,5,6 or even 91, the number of GP wins this driving genius racked up in a glittering track career.
Reading between the lines it's seems the breach of security may well have occurred whilst Schumacher was in transit to Switzerland, the patient of a private ambulance company, and local news agencies have been probing the possibility. Reports also suggest the driving ace was conscious and able to nod his head to the medical team when prompted during the move.
My sympathies go to the Schumacher family in what must be an incredibly traumatic time, may the Champion of the track win his most grueling race of all, get back to a good standard of health, and be seen once again back at an F1 race soaking up the atmosphere smiling and waving from the paddock.
Sadly I can't say the same for his publicity advisors. They have largely left the waiting World baron of any meaningful information, and rumour and speculation have filled the void left in it's place. What's worse is they have generated a market by their radio silence for official information obtained though fraud or theft, and it's such a shame that this has been the outcome of their handling of the situation.
You may say he has a right to complete privacy, and you are right he should be in an ideal world, but this is not an ideal World this is 2014, a realm where information lies at your fingertips on your phone, tablet, PC.. even in the petrol garage on a big screen as you fill up. Leaving this ever rolling news feed emaciated is only opening yourself up to such horrid events as this recent theft.
It's all a big game that's devoid of a heart, and if you don't play....Suggest a correction