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 fact: he died after a 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 statement from his family published on “No drugs or alcohol were involved.”

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

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

Collins notes that 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 notes. “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 dont know when to elevate it to an emergency room visit or seek medical attention,” 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



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

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 appear “just fine.” As we have seen, closed head injuries or mild head injuries can have devastating consequences. And some survivors have palatable anger because they haven’t been taken as seriously as they should have by the medical community when seeking treatment.

While head injuries like the ones that caused Mr. Sagets death are rarely reported in the media, 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, CDC statistics show.

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.

Based on information from the BIAAZ, the Mayo Clinic and the National Highway Safety Traffic Safety Administration, 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: Activities 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 cant 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, dont ignore it. Seeking medical attention immediately is critical. If you are with someone who has hit their head, take them to get medical help. The head injury may cause the person to become disoriented, confused and sluggish, making it difficult for them to recognize the seriousness of the situation.