The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and Elliott Alpher, DDS, recently screened NFL players and former Washington Redskins players for sleep apnea at the George Washington University Hospital.
Due to their size and neck girth, 89% of NFL players suffer from some sort of sleep disorder. The NFLPA, the Living Heart Foundation, and the Heart, Obesity, Pulmonary & Education (HOPE) program are teaming together to test former players for sleep apnea and increase awareness of the condition.
Dr. Alpher of the Alpher Center in Washington, DC, is a specialist in sleep and jaw disorders and was selected to conduct the NFL HOPE sleep apnea screening. The center has the diagnostic instruments to screen players quickly and easily, he noted in a press release. The center also has an intraoral digital impression system to increase the accuracy and speed of fabricating oral appliances for patients.
The Living Heart Foundation, with support from the NFLPA and Covidien, launched the HOPE program for former NFL players in October of 2012. The program is a comprehensive obesity research initiative designed to promote healthy lifestyles and weight management among former professional football players. These former players, when compared to smaller-sized men, are more likely to have cardiovascular problems and other health issues associated with being overweight, according to the organizations.