When Omaha resident and Creighton basketball play-by-play legend Scott Marr was rushed to the hospital at the end of 2018, it appeared to his family as if they were going to have to say goodbye.
Marr had suffered what appeared to be a massive stroke, and doctors reported severe swelling in his brain coupled with a complete lack of consciousness. Although his family stood vigilantly by him, the medical team at Methodist Hospital in the Nebraska town told them that it might be time to start saying their goodbyes.
Long before the apparent stroke, the 61-year-old father and community icon had let his family know that he didn’t wish to ever remain dependent on life-support devices. So although the hospital had immediately put him on a breathing machine and hooked him up to keep him alive, their belief that the condition wasn’t reversible left his family members facing what they believed was their only choice—and they had the breathing tubes removed after his first day in the hospital.
Overnight, the expectation was that his breathing would slow and he would eventually, peacefully pass. But to the amazement of the medical team attending to him, his breathing remained stable and his vitals were fine. Then, the next day, everyone was floored when he woke up entirely—a true “miracle man.”
“They told us he was on his way to brain death, so we said our goodbyes before extubating him, all the monitors were shut off and we waited by his side,” his daughter Preston explained.
The next day, though, they returned to the hospital after having departed to make funeral arrangements and found Marr speaking and fully conscious.
“When we got up there, I went in just to talk to him, like I have been this whole time, and said, ‘Hi Dad,’” recalled Preston. “He smiled at me, and I literally thought I was dreaming. It was the craziest moment ever.
“I asked him to move his thumbs, and he slowly moved his thumbs, and I asked him to wiggle his toes, and he wiggled all his toes really slightly.
“I literally had to rub my eyes to make sure it was actually happening.”
It turned out that Marr hadn’t actually suffered a stroke but was instead dealing with a condition known as PRES, or posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome. The condition is fairly uncommon, although the swelling that it causes doesn’t always result in loss of consciousness like in Marr’s case—so it was difficult to diagnose at first. It tends to resolve on its own, though, and rarely makes a recurrence, so Marr truly returned to nearly perfect health when he woke up; although it wasn’t a miraculous stroke recovery, it was still incredible for the sports announcer and his loved ones.
For Marr, the ordeal left him baffled but feeling incredibly blessed. He believes that it’s a sign that he’s on Earth for a reason, and plans to use the rest of his time with his family and friends wisely.
“This whole thing has been a miracle from God, I did not die, I don’t have to die, I’m back here and I hope to give people some comfort and hope, that if they are in fact going through anything like that, that it’s safe place,” he said. And although he was quick to regain a famous sense of humor, joking that now he’s just going to get hit by a bus instead, he seemed to lose the laughing demeanor as he sincerely expressed how thankful he felt to be a bit of a miracle man.