As excitement builds for the Super Bowl, Ascension Seton teamed up with Living Heart Foundation (LHF) to screen 39 retired National Football League players for heart disease and other potentially life-threatening conditions such as head injuries, diabetes and stroke.The screenings, offered free of charge, were conducted at the Ascension Seton Heart Institute on Jan. 30, just over a week before the NFL championship game. News stories appeared on KXAN, FOX 7, KEYE, Time Warner Cable News and the San Marcos Corridor website. Here are more photos and a You Tube video.
When professional football players end their careers, their level of exercise usually drops dramatically. However, their eating habits can remain unchanged. This can lead to obesity and other serious medical conditions. This is especially true for players who were offensive and defensive linemen.
“Everyone sees football players as invincible gladiators, but after years of playing this sport professionally, it can take its toll on the body,” Dr. George Rodgers, a Ascension Seton Heart Institute cardiologist, said. “We’re honored and excited to partner with Living Heart Foundation and provide Seton’s expertise and health screening technologies to these players.”
LHF was founded by former NFL quarterback and heart surgeon Dr. Arthur “Archie” Roberts. After suffering a stroke at age 55, Roberts shifted gears to draw attention to the cardiovascular risks found among professional athletes, especially football players with large body mass.
Through its NFL Player Cardiovascular Health Screening program, the nonprofit group seeks out former players, many of whom may be predisposed to key risk factors for heart disease such as hypertension, metabolic syndrome, sleep apnea, diabetes, high cholesterol and enlarged hearts. LHF is made possible by a grant from the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), which is actively addressing health issues of former NFL players.
“We commend Seton’s commitment to providing these important medical tests to this at-risk group,” Roberts said. “Our goal is to encourage the players to recognize health problems early on, develop a winning game plan to become heart healthy, and lower the chances of them suffering a heart attack or stroke.”
Among the procedures players underwent:
- Blood Draw
- Body Composition
- Blood Pressure
- Carotid Ultrasound
- Pulmonary Function Test
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Neurologic Assessment
- Health and Wellness Assessment
Ascension Seton Heart Institute also hosted the Championship Hearts Foundation teen athlete heart screening on Jan. 31. Living Heart Foundation was a sponsor of that event.