Every time you turn on the TV or open the newspaper there is some kind of story about sleep apnea. This is not totally surprising given the magnitude of the untreated patient population. Stanford has reported that only 1% of the total OSA patient population is currently receiving care. The increase in profile of the condition is leading to an increase in diagnostic procedures however patients under care numbers are still not where they need to be.
Enter David Gergen President of ProPlayer Health Alliance and lifelong football fan. David was inspired by a conversation he had with ex NFL quarterback and Cardiologist Archie Roberts MD. Dr Roberts completed research on apnea rates among retired NFL players that indicated that Apnea risk in retired NFL players is exceeds that of the general public (http://1.usa.gov/10cRgsG). David reached out to his friend Derek Kennard as his first contact to test the concept that retired NFL players need better options so that they can sustain sleep treatment.
David found that there was a fundamental problem facing almost all of the retired NFL players that he met. The first issue is that retirement has not affected all players equally some have done very well and are able to navigate the health system easily. Others need help getting diagnosed and then get treated. The unexpected discovery was that almost all of the players that David approached wanted to help raise awareness with their peers but also with the general public. This lead to the “AHA” moment that inspired the launch of ProPlayer Health Alliance. ProPlayer was founded to provide sleep care for retired NFL players and also raise awareness in the general public through public events that invite patients treated and untreated to share their stories and if necessary learn about alternative treatments for OSA. Retired players across the country have embraced this new initiative.
Recently there have been events in Dallas,Tacoma, Minneapolis, San Jose, Phoenix and coming up in May there will be an event in San Diego with Dr Bradley Eli. It is the David Gergen’s intention, that sleep care providers, physicians, dentists and DME providers, host these events in order that patients immediately recognize their need and meet someone with the advanced training and certification to communicate treatment options. The recent ProPlayer Health Alliance event in Phoenix saw a new level of engagement by the NFL player community. Syndicated sports writer, producer and talk show host Larry Fitzgerald Sr was a presenter at the event and his son Arizona Cardinal Larry Fitzgerald attended the event, sponsored by Dr Gary Core. Sleep Apnea runs in families as Derek points out in his video above. If you have a family member with OSA or you are concerned yourself please join us at one of our public events.