While you might never associate sleep apnea with professional athletes, you’d be surprised to find out that this chronic sleep condition is extremely common among professional football players. In fact, according to a study from The New England Journal of Medicine, one in three professional footballplayers are likely to have sleep apnea – almost two times as high as the national average in the United States.
With less than one week before The Big Game, linebacker Kyle Van Noy and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, are tackling their first-hand experiences with sleep apnea. On the field, these two former Big Game champions are performing at the top of their class. But off the field, they’re living with sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder that’s characterized by repeated interruptions in breathing throughout the sleep cycle, which prevents oxygen from reaching the lungs. By disrupting the sleep cycle, sleep apnea can dramatically affect energy levels, mental performance, and long-term health. In some cases, sleep apnea can even be fatal if left untreated. To spread awareness about the prominence of sleep apnea and encourage others to get tested, Kyle and Fletcher want to share their personal stories around diagnosis and treatment.