NFLPA, Pro Player Health Alliance and Living Heart Foundation Work to Improve Health for Former NFL Players

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David Gergen, Andre Collins and Dr. Archie Roberts continue to lead the way for improving overall health of former NFL players nationwide via HOPE Program screenings.

Andre Collins, David Gergen and Mark Walczak pro player health alliance sleep apnea living heart foundation hope program nflpa

Andre Collins, David Gergen and Mark Walczak

With concussions of former NFL players in constant headlines, overall health has been put aside by the majority. David Gergen, President of Pro Player Health Alliance (PPHA), Andre Collins, Executive Director of the Professional Athletes Foundation at the NFLPA, and Dr. Archie Roberts, Founder of the Living Heart Foundation (LHF) are looking to increase awareness and improve health with a series of evaluations across the country for a study known as the HOPE Program.

HOPE (Heart, Obesity, Prevention & Education) Program evaluations by the LHF include blood pressure, body composition, other tests evaluating cardiovascular risk and obstructive sleep apnea testing aimed at educating players about the risks associated with obesity. The Professional Athletes Foundation, PPHA and LHF are hoping to raise awareness of overall health and to help direct the players towards long term solutions for all of their health needs. After recently working with Stan Andrakowicz of Smile Brands, Smile Brands has developed a plan to ensure players living near any one of the hundreds of Smile Brands affiliated dental offices will be able to see a Smile Brands affiliated dentist and be taken care of for their dental and sleep apnea needs by getting tested and delivered an oral appliance when medically indicated.

The next HOPE evaluation for study for the former players will be in Washington D.C. April 26, 2014 at George Washington University Hospital. Dr. Elliott Alpher, a sleep apnea appliance specialist, will speak at the event. After Washington D.C., the HOPE Program will continue stride through other NFLPA chapter cities. Seattle is on the schedule in the near future.

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 160 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.

The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) is a non-profit, professional sports union that protects the best interests and welfare of all NFL players. Established in 1956, the NFLPA is governed by a Board of Player Representatives, acting in accordance with the NFLPA Constitution and federal labor laws. The NFLPA’s responsibilities include: Representing all players in matters concerning wages, hours and working conditions and protecting their rights as professional football players; ensuring that the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement are met; negotiating and monitoring retirement and insurance benefits; providing other member services and activities; providing assistance to charitable and community organizations; enhancing and defending the image of players and their profession, on and off the field. For more information, visit

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 David Gergen
As President of Pro Player Health Alliance, he 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. 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.

Living Heart Foundation
Scott Perryman

NFL Players Association and Professional Athletes Foundation
Carl Francis

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William Smith
Pro Player Health Alliance
since: 09/2012
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