ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The sudden death of beloved comedian Bob Saget from a head injury serves as a reminder that even brain trauma that appears mild can warrant urgent medical attention, doctors say.
A medical examiner ruled Saget died from an accidental blow to the head, likely from what they describe as an “unwitnessed fall.”
His family said he hit his head on “something” before going to sleep in his Orlando hotel room last month.
An estimated 160 Americans die each day from a traumatic brain injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. David Rose, an associate professor of stroke neurology at the University of South Florida and Tampa General Hospital’s neuro-ICU co-director, says what happened to Saget is not uncommon.
Rose said it’s possible for a traumatic brain injury from a blow to the head or a fall to initially appear less critical but to become more serious.
Either one of two things happened, according to Rose; he had bleeding just below the skull (epidural hematoma) or a vein rupture closer to the brain (subdural hematoma).
“Unfortunately these are fatal if they’re not addressed early, if people don’t go to the hospital or have someone monitoring them,” he said.
If Saget were on blood thinners – which is not known – he would’ve had an increased risk of brain bleeding after a blow to the head, Rose said.
The three signs it’s something more serious and worth monitoring, according to Rose:
- Severe headache
- Extreme sleepiness
Investigators said Saget's hotel room appeared orderly, and he was found lying face-up in bed. There were no signs of trauma. His left arm was across his chest, and his right arm was resting on his bed.
Saget was best known for playing one of America's favorite dads: Danny Tanner on the hit TV sitcom "Full House" and the Netflix sequel "Fuller House." He also hosted "America's Funniest Videos," appeared in many movies and TV shows, and is known for his raunchy stand-up comedy shows.