‘Split my skull’: Gary Busey opens up about his horror brain injury – subdural haematoma

Gary Busey reveals issues with his pet parakeet

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Donald Trump once said about Gary Busey, who was a contestant on his show The Celebrity Apprentice, that “he’s either a genius or a moron and I can’t figure it out”. These days, the Point Break actor is iconic for his peculiar tics and mannerisms, which he describes as “Buseyisms” which followed from a life-changing motorcycle accident. About 25 years ago the star, who is also a comedian, was rushed to hospital for brain surgery after he fell off his Harley Davidson motorcycle and smashed his head. In an interview with The Guardian, the Celebrity Big Brother 2014 winner spoke about that catastrophe.

The crash gave him a subdural haematoma, a condition where blood collects between the skull and the surface of the brain, which he said briefly killed him.

“I went off the bike without a helmet, hit my head into a kerb, split my skull, passed away after brain surgery and went to the other side – the spiritual realm where I got information,” he said.

“And I came back, and these messages, these definitions, came to me first-class. I’ll think of a word and write the word down without thinking…

“I was surrounded by angels. Balls of light floating all around me. And I felt trust, love, protection and happiness like you cannot feel on earth. It’s the feeling the angels live in.”

Despite the severity of his injuries, the star insisted: “I don’t have brain damage”, after being asked whether his behaviour changed after the accident.

“Yeah. It got freer. I don’t have brain damage; I have a brain disordered in a better direction because of how it happened and how it recovered. Oh, boy!”

He said it was “part” of his “journey” although admitted it was a “hard time” for his son Jake Busey, aged 50.

His wife recalled how in the hospital recovering after his injury, Busey would go into other patients’ rooms and rearrange their drawers. She called it “his first Buseyism”.

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Busey’s battle with cancer

The actor has also fought cancer over the years as well, which he accounts for in his book Buseyisms – Gary Busey’s Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, published in 2018.

In 1997, while working on an old television show called Hawaii Five-O, he suffered a sudden nose bleed.

For over an hour, blood continued to gush and he called the paramedics. Even they couldn’t stop the bleeding.

It turned out he had a rare form of cancer called a synovial cell carcinoma in his maxillary sinus.

This is a malignant tumour that occurs in soft tissue, normally around joints.

According to the NHS, they are less frequently developed in the trunk, head, neck or abdomen.

The Pacific Neuroscience Institute, explained that surgeries to remove these tumours commonly involve taking out an eye or removing the nose.

However, Busey had a new kind of surgery from his doctor, called endo-scope assisted endonasal surgery – which means removing the tumour through a tiny instrument, assisted by a small camera.

“I would be Doctor Griffiths’ first patient using this new technology, but he assured me he could save my face,” Busey remembered.

“He didn’t blink when he spoke to me, which gave me confidence.”

Busey was scared about the treatment at the time as his dad had died from an “inoperable malignant tumour” in his brain at the age of 55.

The survival rates for people with synovial cell carcinoma in his maxillary sinus living over five years are between 45 per cent and 61 per cent.

Busey’s surgery, however, was a success.

“I could go back to life as a healthy man. Doctor Griffiths was a miracle worker. If it hadn’t been for him, my whole face would have been permanently disfigured,” the star wrote in his autobiography.

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