Deaths of Former NFL Players Related to Sleep Apnea Drive Pro Player Health Alliance to Hold Public Events In Coming Months

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NFL legends have come together with the best doctors in the country to honor their fallen teammates by spreading awareness of sleep apnea to the public.

Mark Walczak Junior Seau Pro Player Health Alliance ppha sleep apnea

Mark Walczak With His Best Friend Junior Seau

I lost my best friend Junior Seau from the effects of this condition and I am trying to spread awareness to save lives.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious sleep disorder that causes a person to stop breathing up to hundreds of times a night on average for thirty seconds each time. OSA occurs when throat muscles relax during sleep, allowing soft tissue in the throat to collapse and block the passage of air. Pro Player Health Alliance (PPHA) has set out on a mission to "Tackle Sleep Apnea" nationally. By partnering with the sleep industry's best doctors and companys, along with NFL greats that have been affected by the disorder, PPHA holds free public awareness events to educate individuals about the effects of untreated sleep apnea.

There are several factors in particular that make OSA deadly. Although it won't directly kill a person it is a big contributor to health risks that do kill, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke. People with untreated sleep apnea have a mortality rate three times that of those who don't have the condition and by treating it early, one can add up to ten years on their life. In addition, most people that have OSA don't know it. A medicalnewsservice.com article reports that according to Dr. Bruce B. Baird, founder of the Dental Organization for Sleep Apnea, 95 percent of those who suffer from sleep apnea don't realize they have it.

Pro Player Health Alliance member, Mark Walczak, suffered from severe OSA and went through David Gergen, President of Pro Player Health Alliance, to get treated. Mark is one of the most popular players among the guys from the NFLPA Phoenix, AZ Chapter and is liked by everyone he comes in contact with. Since meeting Mr. Gergen they have become very good friends. “I lost my best friend Junior Seau from the effects of this condition and I am trying to spread awareness to save lives," said Walczak.

Super Bowl champion Derek Kennard was also saved by Pro Player Health Alliance and has since lost 120 pounds. Both Mark and Derek are heavily involved in spreading awareness to the public and players across the country. Since PPHA's "Tackle Sleep Apnea" campaign was launched, over 150 former professional athletes have been successfully treated and the number is still growing. To follow Pro Player Health Alliance and learn more about coming events, visit http://www.proplayersleep.com

About David Gergen

David Gergen, CDT and President of Pro Player Health Alliance, has been a nationally respected dental lab technician for over 25 years. He received the award for “The Finest Orthodontic Technician in the Country” given by Columbus Dental in 1986. He also has been appointed chair of the dental wing of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy a national interdisciplinary academy dedicated to sleep training and education with over 60,000 members. He has worked for some of the pioneers in the orthodontic and sleep dentistry fields. One of his proudest achievements is receiving The National Leadership award for Arizona Small Businessman of the Year in 2004.

About Dr. Bradley Eli

Dr. Eli earned a post-doctoral Master’s Degree at UCLA where he received advanced training in sleep disorders. He remains the only expert with this unique skill set in the San Diego region. Dr. Eli is on the hospital staff at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla and UCSD. He is a member of numerous professional associations including the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. He holds multiple patents in the fields of both sleep and pain.

About Pro Player Health Alliance

The Pro Players Health Alliance (PPHA) is an organization dedicated to helping former NFL players, through providing testing and treatment options for those who suffer from sleep apnea. In addition, the PPHA is dedicated to integrating education and raising sleep apnea awareness, in a fun and memorable way. In addition to the campaign, the PPHA is dedicated to testing and getting people treated who suffer from sleep apnea. The PPHA was created by David Gergen, President of Gergen’s Orthodontic Lab and Former NFL legends.

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