SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Loved ones are mourning a beloved Point Loma family practice doctor, less than a week after he died of a head injury that seemed minor at first.
“He was a goofy, positive individual,” said Alec Chambers. “He was always there to make me laugh and take my mind off the difficult things.”
Five days later, sons Alec and Evan, and wife Annie, continue to grapple with their loss.
“He’s left a big giant hole in our hearts,” said Annie Chambers.
Two Thursdays ago, Dr. Ned Chambers, 71, came back from a pickleball game with a cut on his head.
“He said, ‘I have these new shoes. I tripped, fell backwards, and I launched into this pole,’” said Annie.
Annie says her husband received stitches at the office of a friend, a fellow doctor, but never got any imaging tests.
He never felt any headaches, attending events over the next several days.
That would change early Sunday morning,
“He said, ‘Geez, my head is really pounding. I need to go to ER,’” said Annie.
Chambers would collapse just outside their home, and was rushed to the hospital, but never regained consciousness, passing away hours later.
Chambers appears to have passed from 'Talk and Die Syndrome,’ which refers to conditions in which what appears initially to be a minor head injury, leads to sudden death.
"The brain bleed had happened slowly. Inside the skull, there was no room for blood to go, so it compressed on his brain,” said Evan Chambers.
Annie says the bleed was worsened because her husband was on blood thinners for a heart condition.
At the Chambers’ home, there is a bevy of flowers and cards from well-wishers, many of them being patients.
“He really believed in community and did everything he could to provide that sense for people,” said Evan.
“He impacted a lot of people. We’ve had people come in tears talking about how he helped them,” said Annie.
Chambers was in family practice at Shelter Island Medical Group for more than four decades. He also worked in occupational medicine.
“He knew them as people and cared for them as the whole person,” said Annie. “It never occurred to him not go as far as he could for people."
A sports enthusiast, he was also a doctor for two America’s Cup teams. Chambers was also the team doctor for the Point Loma High football team for some 35 years, before leaving about five years ago.
His family hopes sharing the story of his life and death will save lives.
“As soon as you have a head injury, if you are on blood thinners, you need to go immediately to the hospital,” said Annie.
Point Loma High alumni are planning on setting up a scholarship in Chambers' name.