Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Instead of Screen Pass, a Cholesterol Screen; Professional Football Players Can Be at Increased Risk for Heart Disease

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Instead of Screen Pass, a Cholesterol Screen; Professional Football Players Can Be at Increased Risk for Heart Disease

Article excerpt

Byline: CHERIE BLACK, The Times-Union

Their muscular bodies are assets on the football field. Once their careers are over, however, professional football players' massive size increases their risks for health problems such as cardiovascular disease, physicians say.

One former National Football League player decided to raise awareness among his fellow athletes, hoping to prevent the nation's No. 1 killer from striking them. Archie Roberts, a retired cardiac surgeon and former Miami Dolphins quarterback, partnered his non-profit organization, The Living Heart Foundation, with Shands Jacksonville to provide free health screenings Thursday and Friday for nearly 60 former NFL players.

"They're talented guys and have endured intense training periods early on in life . . . over time football players, like the rest of us, go through aging," Roberts said. "The active players believe they're invincible, they're playing and healthy and nothing will happen to them . . . the fact is none of us can predict what can happen to us."

Players shuttled through a series of tests at the Shands cardiovascular clinic, including monitoring their hearts, blood pressure and cholesterol throughout both days. More than a dozen players donned red jerseys Friday morning in honor of National Wear Red Day, which focuses on raising heart disease awareness.

"I've had two knee reconstructions and a shoulder reconstruction, so I know the importance of staying healthy," said Jomo Cousins, a former Arizona Cardinals and Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end. …

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