BACKGROUND: The importance of quality sleep on health and wellness is widely known. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common cause of poor sleep for individuals who are male, obese, and have a large neck circumference. These physical characteristics are advantageous in American football players who occupy offensive line positions on the field: guard, center, tackle, and tight end. OSA is defined as having five or more disturbances per hour during sleep. This project looked to discover if the selected participants had OSA based on overnight sleep studies. METHODS: Sleep quality data of NCAA FBS football offensive line players (n = 7; mean ± SD age = 20.42 ± 1.40 years, height = 76 ± 0.833 inches, mass = 294.43 ± 27.59 lbs) was collected during individual diagnostic home sleep studies performed with a Type III portable system (Alice NightOne). Oxygen saturation (SpO2) and pulse rate were monitored using a pulse oximeter. Thoracoabdominal respiratory effort was recorded by a respiratory inductive plethysmography (RIP) belt. Apnea was defined as cessation of airflow for at least 10 seconds (2 respiratory cycles) in the presence of continuous respiratory movement. Hypopnea was defined as an abnormal respiratory event lasting at least 10 seconds with at least a 30% reduction of thoracoabdominal movement or airflow as compared to baseline, and with at least 4% oxygen desaturation or an arousal. Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI), the average combined apnea and hypopnea episodes per hour, was recorded for all participants. Participant self-report sleep quality was collected post-sleep study. RESULTS: All seven participants were found to have mild OSA. Moderate OSA was found in 2 out of 7 participants (29%). Six of the seven participants (86%) reported a normal night’s sleep after the study. The other participant reported restlessness and fragmented sleep. CONCLUSION: Sleep disorders are a common occurrence in large individuals. Athletes who play offensive line positions on football teams should be considered at-risk for a sleep disorder due to their size, even if they do not perceive any sleep quality problems. It would be advised for those individuals to have their sleep assessed to promote better performance, and more importantly, improve general well-being.

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