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Quarterback Sidelined by Sleep Apnea

Former Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell talked to Sports Illustrated about the twists and turns his career has taken. One important item that came out of the discussion – Russell suffers from obstructive sleep apnea.

“In the NFL, my first year, I had to be there at 6:30 before practice and be on the treadmill for an hour. Then meetings come, I sit down, eat my fruit. We watch a film and maybe I got tired. Coach Flip (quarterback coach John DeFillippo) pulled me aside and said, ‘What are you doing for nightlife?’ I said, ‘Coach, I’m just chilling.’ He said, ‘I need to get you checked out.’ I did the sleep test and they said I had apnea.”

Sleep apnea causes extreme daytime fatigue and sleepiness which can cause anyone’s work performance to suffer — not only the performance of world class athletes. Decision making abilities and physical coordination are adversely affected by this disease in which the sleeper stops breathing during sleep. Breathing stops because the soft tissues of the mouth and throat relax and block the airway. This can occur dozens of times each night and each episode causes the sleeper to briefly waken, gasp for breath and return to sleep. The following day they are exhausted but have no recollection of the breathing problems of the night before.

Mr. Russell is not the first NFL player to be diagnosed with sleep apnea, nor will he be the last. What is so surprising – these athletes are constantly supervised by physicians and these sleep disorders are usually not diagnosed for quite some time.

Most of us don’t have physically demanding jobs, nor do we have a medical staff on call. What we do have is our sense of well-being. If you have been feeling unusually sleepy during the day, if you no longer have the energy that you used to, if you are gaining weight and especially if you have been told you snore, you may suffer from sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea has been linked to heart disease, stroke, increased risk of accidents and obesity. Diagnosis and treatment are readily available including treatment using an oral appliance. Please contact StoneRidge Dental Care to arrange your sleep apnea consultation today. Conveniently located to serve the Columbus, OH area we can be reached at 614-476-6696.