Schumacher ski accident similar to one that killed Natasha Richardson

Natasha Richardson, pictured in February 2009. Getty Images

TORONTO — Formula One driver Michael Schumacher’s life-threatening accident on Sunday happened nearly five years after actress Natasha Richardson fell and struck her head on a Canadian ski hill.

Schumacher, who turns 45 on Jan. 3, was skiing with his son when he fell and hit the right side of his head on a rock.

Richardson was 45 when she fell during a ski lesson at Quebec’s Mont Tremblant resort in March 2009. She was with her sons Michael and Daniel.

Richardson was not wearing a helmet when she fell; Schumacher was.

Richardson was rushed to a Montreal hospital and her husband, actor Liam Neeson, flew to her beside from Toronto, where he had been filming Chloe.

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A decision was made to transfer Richardson to Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, where she was pronounced dead.

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An autopsy revealed Richardson died of an “epidural hematoma due to blunt impact to the head.”

According to the Canadian Paediatric Society, head injuries account for the majority of deaths, serious injuries and significant disabilities sustained while skiing and snowboarding. Studies have indicated that helmet use reduced the risk of head injuries by 35 per cent.

Singer and former politician Sonny Bono died in 1998 when he hit a tree while skiing at a California resort. Michael Kennedy, the son of Robert F. Kennedy, died in a similar accident in Colorado.

WATCH: Michael Shumacher fans gather outside hospital following skiing accident

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