Michael Schumacher's doctors have started trying to wake up the Formula One great from the medically induced coma he's been in since a skiing accident Dec. 29, his manager said Thursday.

The 45-year-old suffered serious head injuries when he fell in the French Alps. The seven-time F1 champion has been in an induced coma in Grenoble University Hospital since then, although his condition stabilized following surgery after initially being described as critical.

"Michael's sedation is being reduced in order to allow the start of the waking up process which may take a long time," manager Sabine Kehm said.

Schumacher was being kept artificially sedated to reduce swelling in the brain. Experts said it would likely be months before his prognosis becomes clear -- and that lasting brain damage was a possibility.

  • Brian Vickers said he's off blood thinners and plans to run the entire Sprint Cup schedule this season. He still must be medically cleared by NASCAR. The 30-year-old missed the final five races last season after doctors discovered a blood clot in his calf in October. He'll drive the No. 55 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing again. "I've never been more excited to get back in a car," he said.

    Baseball

    Infielder Michael Young is retiring after a 13-year major league career, nearly all of it with Texas. The Rangers have scheduled a Friday news conference where the 37-year-old Young is to formally announce his retirement.


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    The seven-time All-Star retires as Texas' hits leader with 2,230. He batted .301 with 415 doubles and 55 triples in 1,823 games and 7,399 at-bats, all franchise records.

    Young was traded to Philadelphia during the 2012 season and split last year with the Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers. Overall, he hit .300 with 185 homers and 1,030 RBIs.

  • Left-hander Bruce Chen agreed to one-year contract with Kansas City, where he's spent the past five seasons. Chen, 36, became a free agent after last season. He will be paid $3.25 million this season with a mutual option at $5.5 million for 2015 with a $1 million buyout.

    College football

    Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly promoted passing game coordinator Mike Denbrock to offensive coordinator. Denbrock replaces Chuck Martin, who left to become coach at Miami (Ohio). Denbrock was on Tyrone Willingham's staff at Stanford in 2001.

  • Todd Hoffner, who was cleared in a child pornography investigation in Minnesota, is the new coach at Minot State (N.D.). He was fired by Mankato State despite being cleared.

    Swimming

    Australian media reports say five-time Olympic champion swimmer Ian Thorpe has checked into a rehabilitation facility in Sydney while battling depression and alcohol abuse. News Corporation says the 31-year-old Thorpe was admitted to hospital Wednesday after being injured in a fall.

    There was no immediate response from Thorpe's manager to an emailed request from The Associated Press for comment.

    Soccer

    Abby Wambach and top-ranked United States open their 2014 season against Canada on Friday night in Frisco, Texas. The Americans have gone 67-0-10 on home soil since a loss to Denmark in Philadelphia in November 2004.

    Winter sports

    Lais Souza, a Brazilian gymnast who was expected to compete in freestyle skiing at the Sochi Olympics, is unable to move her arms or legs and can't breathe on her own after she hit a tree Monday while recreational skiing in Park City, Utah. She dislocated a vertebrae.