The NFL Sleep Apnea Connection
The NFL and sleep apnea have long been associated in the popular consciousness, with many former players like former Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers lineman Aaron Taylor publicly discussing their struggles with the condition.
Highlighting this connection, an Arizona-based orthodontic technician grabbed headlines with a blitz of press releases claiming that sleep apnea is one of the primary health risks faced by professional football players.
The organization behind the PR campaign, the Pro Player Health Alliance, is backed by a roster of elite former NFL players, including Super Bowl-winning players Tony Dorsett and Derek Kennard. The group claims that more than “60% of former NFL players suffer from sleep apnea,” citing a 2009 Mayo Clinic study, "Mayo Clinic Finds Retired National Football League Players at Increased Risk for Heart Problems," as its source. (The original study clarifies that this figure is specific to NFL linemen, and not all professional football players.)
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