Zanardi undergoes 2nd brain surgery after handbike crash

FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015 file photo, Alex Zanardi, of Italy, rides during the cycling portion of the Ironman World Championship Triathlo...
In this photo taken on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016, Italy's Alessandro "Alex" Zanardi, smiles after winning the silver medal in the men's road race H5, d...
In this photo taken on Saturday, June 15, 2019 file photo, Alex Zanardi takes the catwalk during the Emporio Armani men's Spring-Summer 2020 collectio...
FILE - This Saturday, Sept. 15, 2001 file photo shows Italian driver Alex Zanardi sitting in his car as it breaks up around him after a crash with Can...

FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015 file photo, Alex Zanardi, of Italy, rides during the cycling portion of the Ironman World Championship Triathlo...

In this photo taken on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016, Italy's Alessandro "Alex" Zanardi, smiles after winning the silver medal in the men's road race H5, d... (AP photo)

In this photo taken on Saturday, June 15, 2019 file photo, Alex Zanardi takes the catwalk during the Emporio Armani men's Spring-Summer 2020 collectio... (AP photo)

FILE - This Saturday, Sept. 15, 2001 file photo shows Italian driver Alex Zanardi sitting in his car as it breaks up around him after a crash with Can...

SIENA, Italy (AP) — Italian auto racing champion turned Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi underwent a second brain surgery on Monday, 10 days after an emergency operation following a crash on his handbike.

The latest surgery lasted 2 ½ hours, after which Zanardi was returned to the intensive care unit in a medically induced coma, the Santa Maria alle Scotte Hospital in Siena said in a medical bulletin.

“His condition remains stable from a cardio-respiratory and metabolic viewpoint, grave from a neurological viewpoint,” the hospital said.

Roberto Gusinu, the hospital medical director, said, “The operation that was done represents a step that was foreseen by the medical team."

The 53-year-old Zanardi, who lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago, has been on a ventilator since he crashed his handbike into an oncoming truck near the Tuscan town of Pienza on June 19 during a relay event.

Zanardi suffered serious facial and cranial trauma, and doctors have warned of possible brain damage.

Zanardi won four gold medals and two silvers at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. He also competed in the New York City Marathon and set an Ironman record in his class.

Last week, Pope Francis penned a handwritten letter of encouragement assuring Zanardi and his family of his prayers. The pope praised Zanardi as an example of strength amid adversity.

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