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Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona Blog

Bob Saget’s Death Highlights Need for Prevention & Treatment of Brain Injuries

The world was shocked and devastated when comedian Bob Saget passed away at age 65 on January 9, 2022. At the time, there was no obvious cause of death. His family said he was in relatively good health. It seemed he had just passed away unexpectedly in his sleep.

On Feb. 10, we learned the tragic reality: his cause of death was due to head trauma. “They have concluded that he accidentally hit the back of his head on something, thought nothing of it and went to sleep,” according to a statement from his family published on CNN.com. “No drugs or alcohol were involved.”

In light of this tragedy, the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona hopes to draw attention to such traumatic head injuries and the importance of treatment and prevention.

Bob Saget’s Death Highlights Need for Prevention & Treatment of Brain Injuries

The world was shocked and devastated when comedian Bob Saget passed away at age 65 on January 9, 2022. At the time, there was no obvious cause of death. His family said he was in relatively good health. It seemed he had just passed away unexpectedly in his sleep.

On Feb. 10, we learned the tragic reality: his cause of death was due to head trauma. “They have concluded that he accidentally hit the back of his head on something, thought nothing of it and went to sleep,” according to a statement from his family published on CNN.com. “No drugs or alcohol were involved.”

In light of this tragedy, the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona hopes to draw attention to such traumatic head injuries and the importance of treatment and prevention.

“It was so sad to lose Bob, whom many of us grew up watching,” said Carrie Collins, CEO of the Brain Injury Alliance. “It was sad knowing he was taken from family and friends too soon due to head trauma. But we know such incidents will happen many times this year, and we can do better in our community knowledge of brain injury.”

As noted by Collins, after a head injury, people can appear to be fine without any visible signs of trauma, but as we see from Saget’s death, the impact of a mild blow or jolt to the head can be deadly serious. “Your brain is the CEO of your body,” she explains. “It makes you who you are and allows you to do everything that you do all day. Brain health is critical, and that extends to monitoring yourself after a bump, blow or jolt to the head.”

Collins urges anyone who has a head trauma to watch for potentially serious signs and seek medical treatment. “People don’t know when to elevate to an emergency room visit or seek medical attention and often don’t know what to watch for after a head injury,” she states.

Signs of a brain bleed include:

  • Sudden tingling, weakness, numbness or paralysis of the face, arm, or leg, particularly on one side of the body
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness

Moreover, if you’re alone when you have head trauma, Collins says, tell someone so they can monitor your signs and symptoms and help you make informed decisions regarding your care.

Collins also implores the medical community to take possible head injury seriously when individuals seek treatment, especially those who have sustained what could be classified as “mild” head injuries or who seem to look “just fine,” as even “mild” head injuries can have devastating consequences. Understandably, many survivors have palatable anger because they haven’t been taken as seriously as they should have by the medical community.

While deaths like Mr. Saget’s are uncommon,166 Americans die from traumatic brain injury-related incidents every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In addition, millions of lives are changed—sometimes permanently—from a bump, blow or jolt to the head.

Falls, motor vehicle accidents, and being struck by or against an object are some of the leading causes of head injuries, the CDC states. In fact, falls are the leading cause of reported traumatic brain injuries. Over 1.3 million—almost half—of all reported brain injuries are the result of falls every year in the United States.

Here are six things you can do to help protect yourself and your loved ones from preventable head injuries:

  1. Regular appointments with your medical provider: Certain conditions can make you more susceptible to falls, especially those involving vision, hearing, and mobility. Go prepared to discuss instances where you fell or nearly fell and what you were doing at the time. Also, take a list of all medications you are taking, as some may have side effects that can increase your risk for falls. Your doctor can help you manage your medications and create a fall prevention safety plan with you.
  2. Physical activity: Things like walking, yoga and tai chi can help improve coordination, strength and flexibility, which can in turn decrease the likelihood of a fall. Consult with your medical provider before beginning any new or rigorous form of exercise, especially if you believe you are at risk for falling.
  3. Well-lit environments: What you can’t see can hurt you. Make sure living areas are well-lit to avoid tripping over or running into things.
  4. Clear some space: Cleaning excess clutter and organizing your space can be a brain saver. Common tripping and fall hazards in the home include rugs, toys, loose floorboards, cords, wires, spilled food and liquids, houseplants, coffee tables, and bathtubs/showers. Experts say putting your things in a set place with plenty of room to navigate around them decreases the risk of home hazard accidents.
  5. Be careful in the car: Risky road behavior, including texting, phone calls, applying makeup, eating, and road rage cause over 3,000 motor vehicle-related deaths per year. Putting your phone on “do not disturb,” saving non-driving activities until you arrive at your destination, and of course, wearing a seat belt, are all ways to keep you, your loved ones and others safe while behind the wheel.
  6. Take every head injury seriously: If you experience a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, don’t ignore it. Seeking medical immediately is critical. If you are with someone who has hit their head and is exhibiting the previously mentioned symptoms, take them to get medical help. Their head injury may cause the person to become disoriented, confused and sluggish, making it difficult for them to recognize the seriousness of the situation.

 

ABOUT BRAIN INJURY ALLIANCE OF ARIZONA

The Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona (BIAAZ) is the only statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of adults and children with all types of brain injuries through prevention, advocacy, awareness and education. BIAAZ also houses the Arizona Brain Health Resource Center, a collection of educational information and neuro-specific resources for brain injury survivors, caregivers, family members and professionals.

What began in 1983 as a grassroots effort has grown into a strong statewide presence, providing valuable life-long resources and community support for individuals with all types of brain trauma at no charge.

The Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona:

  • Works with Congressional Brain Injury Task Force
  • Houses Arizona Brain Health Resource Center
  • Hosts Statewide Opioid Use Disorder & Cognitive Impairment Workgroup
  • Has Statewide Opioid Use Disorder & Cognitive Impairment Response team with peer support, training, and family wraparound services
  • Facilitates Brain Health Advisory Council
  • Manages statewide Neuro Info-Line: 888-500-9165

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