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Mike Napoli says sleep apnea surgery saved his life

Posted at 4:28 PM, Nov 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-01 16:28:41-04

For more than a decade, Mike Napoli didn't dream. Instead, he was living a nightmare, suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. 

Often times, he stopped breathing. 

Napoli used to wake up 50 to 100 times a night, gasping for air. His sleep apnea was so severe, he considered retirement. 

"I was just tired all the time," he said. "I was moody, I was trying to come here and...with the travel and the grind of this game it was making it even tougher. So it got to the point where, when I was in Boston, they built a sleep room. I'd be sleeping during BP sometimes, just trying to get extra rest."

Napoli tried medication, mouthpieces and a CPAP machine. None of it worked. 

So, two years ago, he turned to the only option left — surgery. Major surgery.

"They broke my jaw in four places and moved my jaw forward," he said. "It was a brutal process."

Doctors broke his upper and lower jaws. The surgery lasted nearly nine hours. 

Napoli spent two-and-a-half days in intensive care, then he was on a liquid diet for six weeks. 

Despite all of that, Napoli was breathing easier. The procedure was successful and it doubled the space in his airway. 

Napoli told News 5 the surgery was worth it because it changed his life. 

"I'm glad I did it because I'm definitely sleeping now, my health is a lot better and for me to be able to come and have the energy every day I think saved my career."