In the days leading up to February 4th, 2018, most of the country was preparing for what is referred to as “The Big Game”. The city of Minneapolis was covered with posters that said “Welcome to The Bold North”, likely referring to the below freezing temperatures that Minnesota is famous for in the winter. Visitors and locals alike stayed warm indoors, but the men who paved the way for the “Big Game” as we know it today were forging a different path that didn’t lead to a field or stadium, but to an office located in the Medical Arts Building – Downtown Minneapolis that saw the likes Mike Singletary, Carl Eller, Earl Campbell and Mike Haynes.
The freezing cold winds of the Bold North didn’t stop former NFL players from attending the NFLPA sponsored sleep apnea screening provided by Project Rose and Pro Player Health Alliance (PPHA) on February 1-2, 2018. When David Gergen, CEO OF PPHA, inquired space for the event, Dr. Mark Wilson, DDS was honored to provide his dental/medical office. Dr. Wilson is known as one of the top periodontists in the country and has been trained in sleep for over ten years. Upon arrival, the retired professional athletes were directed to sign official consent forms that allowed their data to be used for research. After completing screener forms that determine if they are at high risk for sleep apnea, Dr. Inell Rosario, MD reviewed the findings and, when medically indicated, ordered home sleep tests (HST) for them. Project Rose, led by NFL great Gary Baxter, provided HST’s for the players that weekend. Results were immediately uploaded and reviewed the next day and treatment options were provided.
Dr. Mark Wilson, DDS and Dr. Greg Ross, who are sleep dentists and Diplomates of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy (ASBA), were able to take digital scans of the players’ teeth to have Gergen’s Sleep Appliance Lab begin fabricating instantly. David Gergen only refers ASBA Diplomates to treat the former NFL players.
Sleep dentists working in collaboration with an ENT who is board-certified in sleep, [Dr. Rosario] ensured a quick, efficient and effective service for the players that impressed participants of the event. Former NFL Linebacker Rick Graf said, “I was so happy to hear about this happening this week. I knew I needed to be tested. I snore, but I knew there was something wrong with my breathing at night too. I’m hoping this oral appliance will change my life. My former teammate, Andre Collins, made this program a reality and I’ll be forever thankful to him.”
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