Pro Player Health Alliance Reunites NFL Purple People Eaters at the Upcoming LHF Screening at the University of Minnesota September 17, 2016

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More than 20 retired players, including the entire NFL Purple People Eaters, will visit the clinic Saturday for comprehensive screenings sponsored by National Football League Players Association (NFLPA). Pro Player Health Alliance and Dr Greg Ross will oversee the sleep apnea treatment portion of the screening.

Hall of Fame Minnesota Vikings Carl Eller and CEO Pro Player Health Alliance David Gergen

Hall of Fame Minnesota Vikings Carl Eller and CEO Pro Player Health Alliance David Gergen

More than 20 retired players will visit the clinic Saturday for comprehensive screenings sponsored by National Football League Players Association.

Marking the first visits under a new care model developed by National Football League Players Association-sponsored Living Heart Foundation, more than 20 retired NFL players will visit University of Minnesota Health Signature Health and Wellness for comprehensive physicals, electrocardiograms, and lab tests this Saturday, Sept. 17.

The day of screenings is designed to help former players – like Purple People Eaters Gary Larsen and punter Greg Coleman – detect and treat the unintended health concerns that come with life after professional football.

“Wear and tear from high-caliber sports, be it football or otherwise, tend to appear as athletes age,” said William Conroy, MD, medical director for Signature Health and Wellness. “Our program is a tailored, comprehensive care option to help busy people achieve and maintain good health, which is something the NFLPA wants for its members.”

The Living Heart Foundation, under the auspices of the NFLPA, refers retired players to specialized care around the nation. It also develops education and wellness programming to raise awareness about conditions that often affect older athletes, such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. When left untreated, these conditions contribute to the shorter life expectancies of retired players.

Signature Health and Wellness, located in the University of Minnesota Health Clinics and Surgery Center, is the first designated brick-and-mortar provider to treat retired players referred by the NFLPA-funded Living Heart Foundation. The program will apply genomic testing to personalize treatment for patients, as well as partner with Pro Player Health Alliance to treat sleep apnea. David Gergen, President and CEO of Pro Player Health Alliance, selected Dr. Greg Ross as the dental sleep medicine expert to treat sleep apnea and related disorders with oral appliance therapy when medically indicated.

“More than two-thirds of adult Americans are obese or overweight, representing a burden of approximately $160 billion annually to the healthcare system,” said Arthur J. Roberts, MD, retired cardiac surgeon, former NFL quarterback and Founder of the Living Heart Foundation. “Obesity and its underlying conditions play a significant role in the declining health of former NFL players, and we know University of Minnesota Health’s academic clinicians have the expertise and skills to address these concerns.”

Special guests at this symposium will be the four Minnesota Vikings Purple People Eaters (Carl Eller, Alan Page, Jim Marshall, Gary Larsen) and Maureen Bausch, CEO of the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.

About University of Minnesota Health
University of Minnesota Health represents a collaboration between University of Minnesota Physicians and University of Minnesota Medical Center. Working together, we provide exceptional care in a wide range of specialties at our hospitals, clinics and in community‐based facilities throughout the region. Visit: http://www.mhealth.org

About the Living Heart Foundation
The Living Heart Foundation (LHF) is a nonprofit organization under IRS 501 (c) (3) code. The LHF was initially funded by a grant from the Edison Foundation. Subsequently, Funding sources and donations have been obtained from companies like Covidien, Pfizer, Meridian Health System, Siemens, Professional Athletes Foundation, and from individual sources. The LHF was established by Arthur J. Roberts, MD in April 2001 to combat sudden cardiac death and to provide cardiovascular risk stratification with early preventive intervention for cardiac, pulmonary, and metabolic conditions through on-site screening and integrated follow-up health programs. The LHF has published 10 peer review papers related to CV risk in college students & athletes, as well as former NFL athletes.

About Pro Player Health Alliance
Pro Player 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. Since launching in April 2012, over 400 players have been treated through PPHA's "Tackle Sleep Apnea" campaign. Also, the PPHA is dedicated to integrating education and raising sleep apnea awareness, in a fun and memorable way. In addition to the campaign, PPHA is dedicated to testing and getting people who suffer from sleep apnea treated. http://www.proplayersleep.org

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