After several years of wondering whether he might suffer from a sleep disorder, Texas Ranger and designated hitter Prince Fielder was finally ready to do something about his daytime fatigue and his struggle on the field. During spring training in March, the professional baseball player and six-time All-Star took a three-day break from practicing to return to Texas and undergo a sleep study.
The results were not a surprise to Fielder, who had been having issues with daytime sleepiness on and off the baseball diamond. The baller suffered from severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – he stopped breathing as many as 39 times per hour during his overnight study.
“I wasn’t panicking,” Fielder told the Dallas News upon his return to spring training. “I just wanted to make sure I was okay. I felt like I was sleeping long but I wasn’t feeling rested. That was my concern trying to figure out what was wrong. Now that I know, it’s good.”
For now, Fielder is treating his newly-diagnosed sleep apnea with a continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) device, which involves wearing a mask each night when he goes to bed. With the baseball season ahead, a more permanent solution such as bimaxillary advancement surgery won’t be on the table until fall.
While treating sleep apnea has not been directly tied with elevated sports performance, it is proven to make patients healthier, more alert, and quicker to react. This may give Fielder an edge while playing first base or trying to hit balls out of the park.
Sleep Apnea & Professional Athletes
Fielder is far from the only professional athlete to suffer from sleep apnea. In fact, former Texas Ranger and current Cleveland Indians player Mike Napoli discovered that he suffered from obstructive sleep apnea in 2014. The first baseman and catcher could not get a good night’s sleep and was sure that his performance on the field was suffering. When he confirmed through a sleep study that he suffered from OSA, he underwent bimaxillary advancement surgery during the off-season. Now, the player feels rested, experiences dreaming, and has been able to continue his successful career.
Surgical Sleep Solutions
At Surgical Sleep Solutions, we understand that people with sleep apnea come in all shapes, sizes, and ages – and that a significant number of athletes may be affected by OSA. This is because athletes may have higher BMIs and thicker neck circumferences due to muscle mass or narrower airways due to sports injuries such as a deviated septum. To learn more about our sleep apnea surgery services, or simply to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors, please contact us today: 855-560-7378 or fill out our form below.