More News About Football Players and Sleep Apnea

A recent Mayo Clinic study of retired NFL athletes showed that about 60% had significant obstructive sleep apnea. Not too surprising, since an earlier study showed that 33% of active linemen had sleep apnea and overall about 11% of all players. After retiring, due to inactivity and possibly gaining more weight, this extremely high level of sleep apnea is expected. If you add to this the additional issues with traumatic brain injury, ex-football players have a lot of health issues to deal with. I’ve speculated in the past that it’s not only increased fat that aggravates obstructive sleep apnea in football players, but the additional neck muscle mass that can press on the unprotected upper airway. Repeated obstructions leads to increased fatigue, leading to more intense exercise and workout sessions, and the vicious cycle continues.

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