A week of news regarding German Formula One driver Michael Schumacher’s severe injuries in a ski accident has left the country (and much of the world) in suspense. Now, the German chancellor has harmed her pelvis while practicing the same sport, forcing her to step out of European politics for three whole weeks.
After having fallen while cross-country skiing in Engadin in the Swiss Alps, Merkel believed she had experienced bruising, only to find upon her return to Berlin that the injuries sustained were much more serious than a bit of contusions. She’s apparently “partially” fractured her “left interior pelvic ring.” Whatever that means in layman’s terms, the chancellor’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, announced Monday that she is out of commission for up to six weeks ...well, sort of.
Seibert told reporters Merkel was walking with the help of crutches and would need to cancel a number of official appointments but was planning to attend Wednesday’s cabinet meeting in person. The meeting is the first gathering of all ministers in the new “grand coalition” cabinet made up of Merkel’s Christian Democratic party and the Social Democratic party.
Merkel had originally planned to visit Poland this Wednesday and receive the new prime minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel on Thursday this week. Both appointments have been cancelled, as well as a meeting with the president of the German employers’ association on Friday.
In what seemed to be an allusion to the debate over Formula One champion Michael Schumacher’s much more severe skiing accident last week, Seibert said: “we are assuming she was travelling at low speed”. On social media, some criticised the joking tone of the remark.
Merkel and her husband Joachim Sauer had set off the weekend before Christmas to St Moritz, where she has been spending her holidays for years. At the time, gossip magazine Bunte published an article claiming that the chancellor had used the same pair of cross-country skis for over 20 years, quoting the manufacturer urging her to buy a new pair: “After about 10 years, our skis noticeably lose their tension.”
—Posted by Natasha Hakimi
(AP/Michael Sohn, file)
No stranger to crutches: Chancellor Merkel uses them after knee surgery in 2011; she’ll presumably rely on them again thanks to her recent skiing accident.