A BRAIN charity boss has urged people to wear helmets when skiing or cycling after Michael Schumacher’s horrific accident on the slopes which left him in a critical condition.

The F1 racing ace remains seriously ill after the accident in which he hit his head skiing in the French Alps. But medical experts say if he had not been wearing a helmet he would have been killed outright.

A scan has shown that the seven times world champion suffered internal bleeding, bruising to the brain and a build-up of fluid in his skull.

The 44-year-old was skiing off piste with his family when he crashed into a rock.

Mel Akers, chief executive of Headway Worcestershire, based in Gregorys Mill Street, Worcester, said the national branch of the organisation had run a recent campaign to get both cyclists and skiers to wear helmets. Headway provided support to a man from Worcestershire who had suffered a head injury skiing three years ago while on holiday and he had to have a year or more off work in order to recover.

He said: “It is always better, whether someone is cycling or skiing or snowboarding, to wear a helmet – the brain is worth protecting.

In the case of Michael Schumacher it is an impact on the brain causing the brain to bleed. The helmet saved his life.”

But he said there would be no way to tell the long term effects of the injury until Schumacher had come out of his coma. Brain injuries can have a number of effects including forgetfulness, disinhibition and damage to so-decision- making skills.