Former NFL Players Contribute To Sleep Apnea Awareness
In the case of sleep apnea, which is cessation of breathing while sleeping, it can lead to high blood pressure and heart failure, stroke, diabetes, sexual dysfunction; and because it promotes a dangerous lack of good sleep, it also is being blamed for many traffic fatalities in this country brought about by drowsy drivers.
Former NFL players like Aaron Taylor, a big former Chargers offensive lineman, and Rolf Benirschke, a thin former Chargers kicker, both have suffered from sleep apnea. Both of these NFL stars are contributing towards awareness of sleep apnea among masses.They are doing it through education, because the way to beat this thing is to go to bed wearing masks attached to positive airway pressure devices.
Benirschke’s company, Legacy Health Strategies, helped develop the Wake Up To Sleep patient support program for ResMed, the local outfit that manufactures these high-end devices, and Taylor, now a CBS football analyst who is doing videos for the website WakeUpToSleep.org, want people to forget about their boudoir appearance and live a lot longer by getting tested to see if they have it.
Athletes, especially heavier professional and collegiate football players, are at risk. “All this came out of a screening the NFL did with older players,” Benirschke says. “Sixty-five percent of people with high blood pressure have sleep apnea. Their airways close, they stop breathing, and some of them have heart attacks.
“Reggie White (the great Hall of Fame defensive lineman) is the classic case. He had sleep apnea, and he died with the S.A. (CPAP) machine at his bedside, unused. Another big name just came out, Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal). JaMarcus Russell, too. They did a study in Texas five years ago and found that 40 percent of people in college have sleep apnea.”
Millions of the Americans have some form of sleep apnea and 80 percent of them are unaware of the problem, even though their spouses know they snore, which is one of the warning signs that the airway can collapse while sleeping, causing breathing to stop and start repeatedly.
“In a society that pushes through the day, I used to say, ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead,’?” says Taylor, who travels to New York weekly during football season and takes his machine along. “With all due respect to Reggie and my buddy, I don’t want to join them just yet.
“I call it the silent killer. I was dying. I was dying slowly. It’s not snoring. Snoring is an indicator. It’s when you stop breathing that the problem occurs. It’s as prevalent as asthma.”
“We have to get into NFL locker rooms because of the high risk to athletes,” Taylor says. “NFL linemen are four times more likely to have sleep apnea than the average person on the street in their age group. Not only the NFL, but colleges desperately need to test their athletes. A breathing player is a better player. You know (Vikings receiver) Percy Harvin and his migraine problems? They found he has sleep apnea.
“So it involves me dealing with a machine and wearing a mask at night. I think about my kids, think about my wife, and I think about them being at my funeral and saying it’s too bad dad didn’t stick with it.”
Tagged with: Aaron Taylor • awareness of sleep apnea • cessation of breathing while sleeping • Effects of Sleep Apnea • Former NFL players • NFL Linesmen • NFL players • Reggie White • ResMed • Rolf Benirschke • Shaq • Shaquille O’Neal. JaMarcus Russell • Sleep • Sleep Apnea • Sleep Apnea Awareness • Sleep Apnea Disorder • Snore • Snoring • Wake Up To Sleep
Filed under: Cardiovascular Disease • CPAP • CPAP Device • Depression • Diabetes • Heart Attack • Heart Disease • Heart Problems • High Blood Pressure • Hypertension • Obesity • Other Disorders • Sleep • Sleep Apnea • Sleep Apnea Awareness • Sleep Apnea Effects • Sleep Apnea News • Sleep Disordered Breathing • Sleep Disorders • Sleep Problems • Snoring
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