Not long before being cut from the Baltimore Ravens roster on Saturday, offensive lineman Ryan Jensen was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea, a disorder which can be life-threatening, if left untreated.
Jensen was picked up by the Ravens in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, but the promise he displayed during his collegiate career at Colorado State University-Pueblo was lacking on the Baltimore practice field. His energy was down, as well as his mood.
Jensen met with Harry Swayne, the Ravens' director of player development, and Swayne voiced his concern. Jensen explained to the Baltimore Sun, "He spoke to me and said, 'You're not the same guy. You seem really angry. What's going on with you?' He reached out to help me and was worried. He suggested I get checked out. He's a good guy."
Jensen underwent a sleep study, and was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea, a disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. Each of these pauses is called an apnea, and Jensen was having at least 90 apneas a night.
Jensen remarked, "I've been told I choke and stop breathing in my sleep. That's not good for your heart. In the sleep apnea test they did, I woke up almost 28 times per hour and have about 90 breathing episodes a night. They said that was probably a mild night for me. They estimated I was getting two to three hours of sleep a night. They saved my life."
Jensen added, "It got to the point where I was walking around like a zombie. I didn't have that same fire because of my lack of sleep. It affected me. I'm just glad I got it figured out. I got diagnosed and got treated for it. The Ravens were understanding about it when we talked about it."
Now a free agent, Jensen hopes to picked up by another team.
That hair is getting out of control pic.twitter.com/gHWeAsce5G
— Ryan Jensen (@sinjen66) August 17, 2014
"I feel like I'm getting back to the normal Ryan Jensen. The plan is for me to play. Hopefully, I'm back with a team very soon."