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NFL Player Jonathan Owens Has Sickle Cell Traits, Is at ‘Oxygen Deficit’ (Exclusive)

Jonathan Owens knows better than anybody the importance of staying hydrated. 

So when the pro football star, 28, recently made a surprising revelation about his inability to stay replenished, there was major cause for concern.

“I have sickle cell traits, so that means you’re basically at an oxygen deficit,” Owens exclusively told Us Weekly. “It’s a little bit harder for you to get oxygen to your cells to keep your body hydrated.”

While scary, the diagnosis helped Owens understand a few things from his collegiate playing days at Missouri Western.

Simone Biles Husband Jonathan Owens Had the Best Reaction to Her Vault Performance

Related: Simone Biles' Husband Jonathan Owens Had the Best Reaction to Her Vault

“I was always a heavy cramper in college,” Owens, who was drafted to the NFL in 2018, said. “I’ve always been a super heavy cramper. As soon as the second half would start, my calves, my hands and everything would just start cramping.”

He continued, “I never really understood why, but I just didn’t take my hydration as serious as I needed to because I just wasn’t informed and I didn’t know about it.”

NFL Player Jonathan Owens Has Sickle Cell Trait Is at Oxygen Deficit

Owens, who is married to gymnast Simone Biles, decided to take things into his own hands and DM’d sports drink company GoodSport during training camp in 2023. “They hit us right back and the relationship just flourished from there,” he said. 

The collaboration turned out to be a serendipitous one after Owens signed a two-year contract with the Chicago Bears in March. (GoodSport is based in The Windy City.)

“It’s even crazier because we were thinking I was going to be in Green Bay last year and in the process of signing everything to become partners, I end up going to Chicago where GoodSport is based and all the staff lives there,” Owens noted. “It was a match made in heaven. Everything happens for a reason. I’m a big believer in that.”

Owens detailed how his new hydration routine starts well before kickoff. “If I’m playing a game on Sunday, you need to hydrate on Friday,” he explained. “You can’t do it the day-of and think that’s what’s going to get you through the game.”

NFL Player Jonathan Owens Has Sickle Cell Trait Is at Oxygen Deficit
Jonathan Owens and Simone Biles. Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Ultimately, Owens explained, he was motivated to get his health situation in order because he didn’t really have any other choice.

Related: Simone Biles’ Husband Jonathan Owens Is ‘So Proud’ After She Qualifies for 2024 Olympics

“I had to figure it out. I kept cramping,” he said. “I was like, ‘This isn’t going to work if I’m trying to be out here as fast as I want to be’ I kept cramping my calves and it puts your performance at a deficit. I found out that GoodSport really helped me and gave me my peak performance.”

Looking ahead, Owens is optimistic about what his new partnership will mean for his on-field performance. 

“Training camp is right around the corner,” he observed. “I’ve been out of the pads for a minute now. I’m about ready to let out some frustration.” 

GoodSport is available online at and via Amazon, as well as midwest Walmart locations and various Chicago retailers.

– Reporting by Christina Garibaldi 

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