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Some Subtle Signs That Could Have Saved Bob Saget's Life

February 11, 2022

It’s what many people would have done. After apparently bumping his head, comedian and actor Bob Saget went to bed to sleep it off. But he died in his sleep as a result of the injury. Weeks after the 65-year-old was found dead in a Florida hotel room, the medical examiner reported the cause of death appeared to be accidental brain trauma resulting from hitting the back of his head. “This story highlights how head trauma can be fatal,” said Dr. Stephanie Alessi-LaRosa, director of the Hartford HealthCare Sports Neurology Program and program director of the Sports Neurology Fellowship. “In my work as a boxing ringside physician, we are often confronted with the possibility of a life-threatening blow to the head, and we work to keep fighters safe in an inherently unsafe sport.” The same threat is present for the average person every day, and people often do not seek medical attention for their injury, she continued. “There are a spectrum of patients – some downplay symptoms and will reassess in the morning or in a few days before seeking medical attention, and others seek medical attention very quickly for the most minor injuries,” said Dr. Alessi-Larosa. “The story of Bob Saget’s cause of death should encourage people to examine their own behavior and, perhaps, seek medical attention sooner for any new or concerning symptom or injury.” After a blow to the head, whether during a sporting event or regular daily activities, she said it’s important to gauge how you feel. People should seek immediate medical attention for such symptoms as:

  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Paralysis in legs or arms.
  • Difficulty walking or speaking.
The more subtle signs of brain injury that also requires a trip to the emergency room or urgent care can be:
  • Persistent or worsening headache.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Trouble remembering the injury.
A serious enough blow to the head – or a hit to a more vulnerable part of the head – can cause brain swelling and increased pressure inside the skull, which can impact the person’s breathing and heart rate. Because the trauma can slowly worsen, doctors advise people not go to bed for several hours after an injury so they or others can monitor any symptoms.