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Stanford cardiologists to screen former NFL players for heart disease


The health of retired professional football players, particularly the latent effects of concussions, has been a hot topic lately. But the conversation about health problems suffered by NFL alums often overlooks cardiovascular disease.

To increase awareness of heart health among players, Stanford cardiologists and a nurse specialist will screen one-time NFL players of all ages at a cardiac-screening clinic on Saturday in San Francisco.

At the daylong clinic, players will undergo radiological and ultrasound scans of their arteries, as well as blood tests and counseling on heart-disease prevention. In addition, their wives will receive information and advice about heart-disease prevention for women. Sponsored by the NFL Player Care Foundation, the clinic is the first of its kind to be offered in the Bay Area.

In a release, Michael McConnell, MD, acting director of the Preventive Cardiology Clinic at Stanford Hospital, discussed why it's important for players to be screened and how the clinic could prompt others to take action to prevent heart disease:

This is a group that is thought to be high risk. These guys had a period of time when they could eat anything they wanted because they had a strenuous exercise regime. Many are now overweight and, like a lot of people, have not gotten their cardiovascular risk assessed at the appropriate time.


Many recognize these former players. They are role models. If people see they're coming in to get their hearts checked, it may encourage them to think, 'I should probably see my doctor about getting my blood pressure and cholesterol checked, too.'

Previously: Stanford Hospital and 49ers team up to study biomechanics of football injuries and When can athletes return to play? Stanford researchers provide guidance
Photo by John Martinez Pavliga

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