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Former pro football players warn against sleep apnea

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Several former pro football stars will be at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort tonight on Thursday to give a free seminar on sleep apnea and the problems it causes.

Dave Krieg, Derrick Kennard, Roy Green and others will be talking about their sleep apnea treatment.

“Sleep apnea is a condition where you stop breathing at night,” said David Gergen, President of the Pro Player Health Alliance. “The airway collapses and you can’t get any oxygen. It goes on and goes on and goes on, and you can’t get any air.”

Sleep apnea can cause heart attacks, strokes, diabetes problems and can be fatal.

Green, who played for the Arizona Cardinals and other teams, first heard of the disease through a tragedy.

“I played with Reggie White in Philadelphia, a teammate of mine,” said Green. “He passed away of sleep apnea about seven years or so ago.”

About a year and a half ago, Green thought something was wrong.

“I’d go to bed, and would be in bed for about seven or eight hours, but yet it would feel like I didn’t sleep at all,” he said. “I decided to go and get checked and, low and behold, I had sleep apnea.”

Green’s sleep apnea was diagnosed after he underwent a 24-hour sleep study. A common treatment for sleep apnea is using a C-Pap machine, which requires users to wear a mask while the sleep. Green decided that wasn’t for him.

“I’m having a hard time dating now, so I didn’t want to have to put something on my face,” he said, jokingly. “Sitting with a partner and having to put something on my face at night is going to ruin my chances even more.”

Green instead uses a mouthpiece while he sleeps.

“It opens your passageway while you sleep. You just pop it in at night and you sleep.”

Apnex Medical dot com says that Sleep Apnea afflicts 100 million people worldwide. Snoring is one of the symptoms. Green said that overweight people or those with large necks are most likely to have the disease, but people of all sizes can get sleep apnea.

The sleep apnea seminar is at 7 p.m. at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort, located at 7200 N. Scottsdale Road. Admission is free and it’s open to the public. The players will be available for photos and autographs, and a surprise guest will also be there.