Brain injury experts offer advice in light of Bob Saget’s death

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The world was shocked and devastated when comedian Bob Saget died aged 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 looked like he had just passed away suddenly in his sleep.

On February 10, we learned the tragic fact: he died of a traumatic brain injury. “They concluded that he accidentally hit the back of his head on something, thought nothing of it and fell asleep,” according to a statement from his family posted on CNN.com. “No drugs or alcohol were involved.”

the Arizona Brain Injury Alliance (BIAAZ) wants to use this tragedy to draw attention to brain injuries, their treatment and prevention. This statewide organization supports people with brain injuries and the professionals who serve them through prevention, education and awareness.


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“It was so sad to lose Bob, which many of us grew up watching,” said Carrie Collins, CEO of BIAAZ. “It was sad to know that he was separated from his family and friends too soon due to a traumatic brain injury. But it’s going to happen many times over this year, and we can do better in our community awareness of brain injury.

Collins notes that after a head injury, people may seem fine with no visible signs of trauma, but as we’ve seen since Saget’s death, the impact of a light blow or jolt to the head can be fatally serious. “Your brain is the CEO of your body,” she notes. “It makes you who you are and keeps you going with whatever you do all day. Brain health is key, and that extends to self-monitoring after a bump, knock or jolt at the head.

Collins urges anyone with a head injury to watch for potentially serious signs and seek medical attention. “People don’tI don’t know when to elevate him to an ER visit or see a doctor,” she says.

Signs of a brain hemorrhage include:

• Sudden tingling, weakness, numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

• Headache

• Nausea and vomiting

Confusion

Dizziness

Also, if you’re on your own when you have a head injury, Collins notes, talk to someone so they can help you watch for signs and symptoms and help you make decisions.

Collins also implores the medical community to take possible head injuries seriously when individuals seek treatment, especially those who have suffered what could be described as “minor” or appear “very good” head injuries. As we have seen, closed head injuries or mild head injuries can have devastating consequences. And some survivors have acceptable anger because they weren’t taken as seriously as they should have been by the medical community when they seek treatment.

While head injuries like those that caused Mr. Sagets deaths are rarely reported in the media, 166 Americans die each day from incidents related to traumatic brain injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Additionally, millions of lives are changed, sometimes permanently, by a bump, blow or jolt to the head, according to CDC statistics.

Falls, motor vehicle accidents and being struck by or into an object are among the leading causes of head injuries, according to the CDC. In fact, fall are the main cause of traumatic brain injury. More than 1.3 million, or nearly half, of all reported brain injuries are the result of falls each year in the United States.

Based on information from the BIAAZthe Mayo Clinic and the National Highway Safety AdministrationHere are six things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from preventable head injuries:

1. Regular appointments with your doctor: Certain conditions can make you more vulnerable to falls, especially those involving vision, hearing and mobility. Be prepared to discuss when you fell or nearly fell and what you were doing at the time. Also, take a list of all medications you take, as some may have side effects that can increase your risk of falling. Your doctor can help you manage your medications and work with you to create a fall prevention safety plan.

2. Physical activity: Activities like walking, yoga, and tai chi can help improve coordination, strength, and flexibility, which in turn can reduce the risk of falling. Consult your doctor before beginning any new or rigorous form of exercise, especially if you think you are at risk of falling.

3. Well-lit environments: what you cannot seeing can hurt you. Make sure living areas are well lit to avoid tripping or bumping into things.

4. Free up space: Cleaning up excess clutter and organizing your space can be a mind saver. Common trip and fall hazards around the home include rugs, toys, loose floors, cords, wires, spilled food and liquids, houseplants, coffee tables, and tubs/showers. Experts say placing your things in a specific location with plenty of room to navigate around them decreases the risk of household accidents.

5. Be careful in the car: Risky road behaviors including texting, phone calls, makeup, eating and road rage cause more than 3,000 motor vehicle related deaths annually. Turn on your phone do not disturb”, avoiding non-driving related activities until you arrive at your destination, and of course wearing seat belts are all ways to protect yourself, your loved ones and others behind the wheel .

6. Take every head injury seriously: If you experience a bump, blow or jolt to the head, do notnot ignore it. It is essential to consult a doctor immediately. If you are with someone who has hit their head, take them to get medical help. The head injury can make the person disoriented, confused and lazy, making it difficult for them to recognize the seriousness of the situation.

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