Legacy Announces Publication of the HUDDLE Study in the JACC Halliday Nelson May 25, 2024

Legacy Announces Publication of the HUDDLE Study in the JACC

Legacy team members including Vivian Larsen and CEO Jessica Scott wearing their vests from the HUDDLE Study



We are thrilled to announce that the HUDDLE Study has been published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Legacy Health Strategies is proud to have contributed to this research in collaboration with Edwards Lifesciences and NFL Alumni Health, conducted in 2021 and 2022. The publication of these results marks a significant milestone in advancing heart health awareness and treatment among communities of color.

Key Findings of the HUDDLE Study 

We recruited nearly 500 eligible National Football League (NFL) Alumni, coaches, and extended family to participate in 8 heart health screening events across the country.

The HUDDLE Study aimed to examine the prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and associated risk factors in an understudied population, often considered healthy because they are athletes, and quantify the knowledge gap as well as engage in education and identify opportunities for screening.

A substantial gap was found between the self-reports of CVD by former NFL players and a “surprisingly high” prevalence of hypertension, with a “significant discrepancy between participants’ awareness and observed disease prevalence.”

  • Hypertension Awareness: Only 37.5% self-reported having hypertension 

  • Actual Findings: 89.8% presented with blood pressure ≥130/80mmHg during screening 

  • Structural Abnormalities: Detected in 61.8% (176) of transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) screenings 

  • Abnormal ECG Readings: Found in 46.1% (131) participants 

These results enabled immediate treatment for those previously unaware of their cardiovascular risks, potentially preventing future cardiac events. 

Impact and Implications 

The findings of the HUDDLE Study have the potential to significantly influence heart health screening practices for communities of color, leading to earlier diagnoses and more successful treatments. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, with an American experiencing a cardiovascular event every 25 seconds. Despite this, 72% of Americans do not believe they are at risk. 

Participant Engagement and Demographics 
Vivian alongside one of the participants of the HUDDLE Study, who is holding his championship ring.

One of the most exciting aspects of the study was the high level of participant engagement. In addition to the 285 former NFL players, we also surveyed their family members, bringing the total number of participants to 498. 

Impressively, all participants remained engaged throughout the study, resulting in a 100% completion rate. The demographic breakdown of the 285 players was: 67.6% Black, 26.4% White, and 3.6% Hispanic/Latinx, making the study group representative of the NFL population. 

We invite you to read the full article published by the American College of Cardiology and explore more detailed information about the study on the HUDDLE Study website.

You can read the full ACC article here, view the JACC Publication here, and visit the HUDDLE Study website for more details