“I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and was dependent on painkillers not addicted”: Shaquille O’Neal on his wake-up call after a recent health checkup

Arjun Julka
|Published March 27, 2022

NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal talks about his recent visit to a doctor and being diagnosed with sleep apnea.

The NBA is yet to witness a physical specimen like Shaquille O’Neal, the Hall of Famer was known for his unmatched size and strength. Shaq was one of the most gifted athletes, standing above seven feet tall, coupled with cat-like reflexes in the paint.

The Big Diesel had an illustrious career, achieving almost every accolade in the NBA book. Nonetheless, the Lakers legend was not the best example of discipline and work ethic. The four-time champion relied heavily on his talent, which would cost him in the latter half of his career.

Post his 3-peat with Kobe Byrant and the Lakers, Shaq began to look out of shape and was somewhat already content with his career. The fifteen-time All-Star was addicted to fast food and sodas, which haunted him later in his career as he would have some career-threatening injuries.

Also read: “I had a new disorder called the Charles Barkley Over the Belt Syndrome”: Shaquille O’Neal hilariously trolls his TNT co-panelist while talking about his recent weight loss

Though Shaq is a changed man now, having the perfect 4.9 abs. The Lakers MVP addressed his recent visit to a doctor, revealing he had been diagnosed with sleep apnea.

Shaquille O’Neal talks about his recent health checkup being a wake-up call.

In what many believe, had Shaq paid more attention to his fitness, he and Kobe could have easily won a couple of more championships after their 3-peat. At the time, reports suggested, his lack of dedication was one of the reasons for his trade.

Fortunately, Shaq, who recently turned 50-years of age, is much more cautious about his health and fitness. During his recent interview with GQ, the three-time Finals MVP addressed his recent visit to the doctor and how it was a wake-up call for him.

“So when I went back to the doctor there was some stuff I never even knew. They give you those certain words, ‘Hey man, you got sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can cause hypertension or strokes, you could die.’ I said, ‘What?’ ‘You could die.’ So now I’ve got to sleep with a sleep machine. 

Then, ‘All those painkillers you were taking, bro? Your kidneys are kind of weak. No more painkillers.’ I was dependent upon painkillers, not addicted. Certain days when I couldn’t move, I just popped one or two, just to get me going. But I’m off that now. 

I had to really get checked out. When they hit you with that three-letter word that starts with D and ends with E, it changes stuff up.”

Well, it’s inspiring to see Shaq turn around things considering his health issues. When we talk about sleep apnea it is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Some of its causes include age and obesity.

Also read: “Hey Shaq, it’s Big Soul, not Big Honey”: A look into Shaquille O’Neal’s list of faux pas moments with international NBA stars Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic, and Giannis Antetokounmpo

As fans of the Big Diesel, we hope he continues to maintain his healthy lifestyle and is in the pink of health.

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About the author

Arjun Julka

Arjun Julka

Arjun Julka is a NBA author at The SportsRush. Basketball isn’t just a sport for this 26-year-old, who hails from Mumbai. He began watching the sport after stumbling upon a court in his society, helping him identify an undiscovered passion for the game of hoops. Now an ardent fan, Arjun supports Stephen Curry and the Warriors but also enjoys watching Giannis Antetokounmpo own the paint. When it comes to the GOAT debate, the TSR author feels LeBron James is yet to receive a lot of his due but cannot deny marveling at Michael Jordan’s resume.

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