Ex-Formula 1 racer Alex Zanardi will gradually be brought out of his medically-induced coma in the coming days as part of the next step in his treatment.

The double CART champion and Paralympic gold medal winner sustained severe head injuries in a collision with a truck while competing in a handbike race in Italy on June 19.

Doctors treating the seriously injured Zanardi have begun reducing his sedation so his condition can be further assessed before proceeding with the next step of his treatment.

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He underwent surgery upon his arrival to Siena University Hospital and has since had two further operations.

The latest medical bulletin issued by the hospital said: “Following the reduction of sedation, it will take a few days for further evaluations on the patient by the multidisciplinary team that takes care of the athlete, to allow any continuation of his therapeutic and rehabilitative path.

“Currently, the cardio-respiratory and metabolic parameters remain stable, the neurological picture remains serious and the prognosis remains confidential.”

A further update is expected to be released next week.

The medical team has already warned that the long-term affects of Zanardi’s injuries will only be able to judged once his sedation is reduced.

The 53-year-old Italian has been in a medically-induced coma since being admitted to the Siena University Hospital’s intensive care unit following his initial round of surgery on the day of the accident.

This latest episode is the newest challenge for Zanardi in a career that has become a shining example of triumphing against adversity. 

After losing both of his legs in a horrific CART crash at the Lausitzring in 2001, Zanardi went on to rebuild his racing career with a successful stint in touring cars and sportscars using hand controls, before turning his attention to the Paralympics, where he has since become a four-time gold medal winner.