JaMarcus Russell earned a reputation as one of the worst disappointments in draft history and argued that sleep apnea was to blame for much of the behavior that earned him widespread criticism and put an end to his NFL career at the tender age of 26.

JaMarcus Russell’s diagnosis and subsequent discussion of sleep apnea may not be enough to restore his much-maligned performance or defunct career; but at a time when nearly 12% of the American public suffers from this serious and potentially life-threatening condition, it may help raise popular awareness of sleep apnea – and encourage patients to thoroughly research their treatment options to find solutions that are both effective and sustainable for the long haul.

During his brief stint with the Oakland Raiders JaMarcus Russell caught heat for a number of missteps both on and off the field – not the least of which was a tendency to fall asleep during team meetings.

Oakland Raiders JaMarcus Russell was the top overall draft pick of 2007.

When the Oakland Raiders quarterback coach John DeFilippo raised questions and mounted concern, Russell underwent medical testing. It was then that he discovered he had sleep apnea, a condition that disrupts patients’ sleep by causing brief pauses in breathing and results in a number of symptoms including snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness and trouble concentrating.

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