I know what you’re thinking, how can this be? He has what? Who? Lets face it you’re not alone. Sure, you’ve probably heard the stats by now: 18 million Americans have been diagnosed with Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and still an unknown percentage of the population is under-diagnosed. But athletes with sleep apnea!?! Newsflash! Professional athletes can suffer from sleep apnea, too. Should this come as a surprise? A recent study shows that 1 in 3 NFL players suffer from sleep apnea. One of the greatest defensive linemen to ever play the game died from it. Here is a list of the most popular sports athletes with sleep apnea.
1. Reggie White
Green Bay sensation, the “Ray Lewis” of his generation, Reggie White comes in on our list at number one. Reggie was known as the “Minister of Defense”. He was best known for his 6 seasons in the 90’s with the Green Bay Packers, but Reggie was a 13 time Pro Bowl selection during his 14 year NFL career, a 10 time First Team NFL selection, 2 time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and led the league in sacks two consecutive seasons. Most importantly on any NFL players resume, White is a Super Bowl Champion. NFL.com ranks Reggie as the 7th best player of all time and both the Green Bay Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles have forever retired his #92 Jersey in the rafters.
What was Reggie doing when he wasn’t on the field? At times he was a practicing minister. Other times he was flexing his muscles in professional wrestling. He was a true sensation. One thing he wasn’t doing was sleeping well. White was only 43 years old the night he died at his home in Charlotte in his sleep due to conditions related to sleep apnea. Widower, Sara White, was in disbelief. To this day, she encourages men nationwide to get checked for sleep apnea. She started the Reggie White Foundation, which is driven to make sure sleep apnea does not go unrecognized. Reggie was one of those guys you couldn’t help but love; was a professional, a minister, a wrestler, a Pro Bowler, a champion, and a victim of a disorder that ended his life too young. He would’ve looked great in the Ultra Mirage Full-Face Mask System. Rest in peace, Mr. White.
2. Percy Harvin
William Percival Harvin III was born into a family of athletes, so it was no surprise that sports were in his blood. His mother was a track star in High School and later coached AAU track and field and his sister was a college track star at Michigan, some big shoes to fill at a very young age. However, this was nosweat off his back. In the year 2000, by the age of 12, Harvin was a Pop Warner Football National Champion and MVP. Come high school he broke a state record for the 40-yard dash, running an average 4.32. In 2005 uring his Junior Year, Harvin won 4 gold medals and set 5 school records.
His accomplishments didn’t come without controversy. Percy Harvin was the single most scrutinized high school athlete in the state of Virginia, almost jeopardizing his scholarship to play at the University of Florida.Side effects of sleep apnea played a heavy role in his crude mannered persona due to the chronic effects of the disease, Harvin would later admit.
Today, Harvin is a star in the NFL that holds many of the Minnesota Vikings single season records. At only 25 years old, the wide receiver has a bright future. The sky’s the limit, Percy! Keep dreaming, and keep on using that CPAP along the way! Boy he sure looks good in that Swift Fx Nano-the latest and greatest mask. Both Percy and his Nano dominate in performance.
3. Anthony Bennett
Enough cannot be said about the NBA’s number one draft pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. This 20-year-old Canadian was a stud during his college days at UNLV. Now, playing with a young, exciting Cleveland Cav’s team, many wonder if this rookie has been using his CPAP nightly, as he went his first 4 NBA games without making a basket. Slump or not, Bennett has a bright future ahead and comes in on the list as the first non-football player suffering from sleep apnea, as well as the youngest. He hasn’t even reached the legal drinking age in the United States. He is, however, of age to be wearing his Mirage FX – the leading nasal cushion on the market. Stick to your therapy, rook! We look forward to watching you grow.
4. Shaquille O’neal
The Big Aristotle, Superman, The Big Daddy, Big Shaqtus, Big Cactus, Big Shamrock, The Big Conductor. Think the list is over yet? How about Dr. Shaq? The Big Leprechaun, Officer O’Neal. Osama Bin Shaq, Manny Shaq-iaou, Wilt Chamberneezy. And no, that’s not all of them!
This 4 time NBA Champion deserves his rest, and he takes it very seriously! Sleep well, big man! We look forward to your next hundred nicknames. “The LT champ” maybe? Goes well with your Swift LT Mask. Okay, lets face it, we can’t come up with them the way you do!
5. JaMarcus Russell
Not all stars with sleep apnea were glorious. Some were borderline NOTORIOUS! The Star Quarterback of the LSU Tiger’s (Shaq’s Alma-Mata, we hope the Louisiana cookin’ isn’t playing a role here) had the highest expectations of a rookie entering the NFL maybe EVER! How high, you ask? After being drafted in June 2007, his rookie contract could not be negotiated fully until halfway through September, forcing him to miss the beginning of Oakland Raiders training camp in his 2007 rookie campaign. When he did finally reach an agreement, JaMarcus signed a six-year contract worth up to $68 Million with$31.5 million guaranteed.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, that contract wouldn’t prove to be profitable, in fact Russell would not throw for a touchdown until December 23rd, a few weeks before the end of the Raiders 6th consecutive losing season. Most of his first 2 NFL seasons saw Russell battling for the starting spot and was easily the most hated figure in Oakland sports of the new millennium. He would eventually be suspended “indefinitely” during his third season for misconduct by Oakland’s coaching staff. Russell tried making a return in 2013, weighing in for combat at 265 lbs. causing one coach to say “Physically unfit for pee-wee”. Although JaMarcus is nearly bankrupt, out of shape and iconic for hatred – this athlete can reminisce about his glory days while his full-face therapy mask is on. Man looks happy in his ComfortGel Blue Full Mask System-maybe he’s smiling.
6. Tony Dorsett
The Dallas Cowboys are known as “America’s team.” Historically, Jerry Jones’ boys are remembered for the lineage of extraordinary running backs (our apologies to Mr. Romo). This pattern almost certainly began in 1977, when Dorsett broke rookie records in rushing yards for one season. He was the first player to win a National Championship in college and a Super Bowl the following season. Today, Dorsett is the 8th leading rusher of all time, accumulating 12,739 yards, 398 receptions, 3,554 receiving yards, and 92 Touchdowns.
This 1994 Pro Football Hall Fame inductee lives a happy life in his hometown of Rochester, Pennsylvania. He may be part of a lawsuit against the NFL for concussion protection, but the champ will be the first to tell you that he loves the game, despite its lasting effects.He’s always ahead of his time, which is why he prefers the soft touch of the Nuance Gel nasal pillow mask by Respironics to soothe him to sleep. You can bet he gets to bed early every Saturday night, turns on that S9 Autoset and wakes up feeling refreshed and ready to watch football all day!
7. Gary Kubiak
Who said this elusive list of professional sports stars needs to be limited to the athletes? Here’s someone who’s been in the news lately, most recently due to his collapse on the sidelines at halftime of Monday Night Football while his Houston Texans were enjoying a nice cushion at home against the Indianapolis Colts. This former Texas A&M quarterback has changed the culture of Texas pro football, as he has taken a team who has historically been a losing franchise and turned them into a Super Bowl contender. Well, that was the plan leading into the season at least.
This 1983 8th round draft pick has both starred in the league as a player and as a coach. Right now he’s at home resting comfortably with his loving wife and his compatible CPAP machine that he has been seen wearing on team flights.You know this coach isn’t sleeping with his mouth shut (as he’s a vocal leader that chooses to scream) so he would probably use the Forma Full face Mask by Fisher & Paykel that has an under the chin comfortable design to keep his airway open on and off the field.
8. Warren Sapp
Hall of Fame, All American, defensive tackle Warren Sapp had a taste of success early on in his career. Star player and big man on campus at Miami, Sapp was drafted 12th overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1995 NFL Draft. He quickly made his presence felt on the field, coming up with some of the most elusive tackles the league has ever seen! This 7 time Pro Bowler, 4 time All Pro, 1999 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and Super Bowl XXXVII champion was named to both the 1990’s and 2000’s all decade team, the only defensive tackle to do so in NFL history.
In 2004, Sapp became a member of the Oakland Raiders, the team he beat years earlier in the Super Bowl. His career came to an end in 2007, but no one will ever forget the impact he put on the game of football. Get this man Resmed’s Quattro Air Mask System. Size Large! I don’t know what else will fit him!
9. Petros Papadakis
As Captain of the University of Southern California Trojan’s football team, this tailback knew how to rally his teammates! Years later, he’s figured out how to pump up the AM radio audience of the greater Los Angeles area. Petros also stars on several different football shows on a series of different Fox Sports Networks. Sidekick Matt “Money” Smith teams up with him to star on the radio show “Petros and Money Squared” or PMS for short.
Does Petros have sleep apnea? Oh you betcha! He’s telling everyone! Petros can almost always be heard talking about his therapy on the radio and on television. He is a true patron and vocalizes how CPAP therapy has changed his life. Rock on, Petros! We don’t mind him talking so much, better give him the Pilairo Q Mask System-talk about CPAP therapy all you want, big guy!
10. Brett Favre
Who didn’t see this one coming!?! Truth be told, we didn’t either… Brett Favre actually doesn’t have sleep apnea. This myth started when a photoshopped image of Favre donning a CPAP mask was made into the cover of a Sports Illustrated issue. Sleep apnea sufferer or not, Favre was one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game of football, this 20-year veteran can’t get away from the game. Heck, not only did he hold America on the edge of it’s seat, but Favre made Lebron James’ antics in the summer of 2010 seem like a slap on the wrist compared to the 3 different retirements he claimed to do year after year after year after…wait! He’s hanging it up this time? Is he?
Well today, the 44 year old is with his family in Mississippi where he has “forgotten coaching his 8 year old daughters football team one summer.” Okay, to his defense, it was probably pretty boring to watch, after the long time Packer battled John Elway and Drew Bledsoe in two Super Bowls. The former 3 time MVP had a long, illustrious career than may have ended (the St. Louis Rams have come knocking) but his legacy will live on forever. Only Anthony Calvillo (believed to actually have sleep apnea) has thrown for more career yards but hey, he plays football in Canada, that shouldn’t count! Nonetheless we believe that a classic Quarterback needs a classic mask, and there is no mask more classic than the Mirage Quattro. No one knows if he will lace up again, but we wish him the best in his “retirement” and are sure he’s enjoying long days of fishing and throwing the pigskin around wearing his Wrangler (open-fly) jeans.
- Slicethelife. 2012. The Minister of Defense – Reggie White Born This Day 1961
- Bleeding Green Nation. 2012. Percy Harvin Requests A Trade… Do you want him?
- Bleecher Report. 2013. 10 Bold Predictions for Anthony Bennett’s Rookie Season
- Harvard Medical School. 2011. Shaq Attacks Sleep Apnea
- BrokenSphere. 2008. JaMarcus Russell at Falcons at Raiders 11-2-08
- Pinterest. 2013. 80’s Dallas Cowboys
- Pride News. 2013. Houston Texans Coach Gary Kubiak Will Leave Hospital
- Silver and Black Report. 2013. Ex-Raider Warren Sapp selected to Hall of Fame
- Inside Social. 2010. From where Papadakis sits, it’s tough to please everyone… but he tried
- After Buzzer. 2013. Indecisive Retirement(s)
*While it is believed that each of the individuals listed above has sleep apnea this is a satirical piece of content. No person or persons listed above has endorsed Easy Breathe, Inc. or the products we sell and we have no intention of implying that. We hope you enjoy.