Fans’ Risk of Heart Attack Higher During Games

February 03, 2008 11:38 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
As fans prepare for Super Bowl XLII, a new study cautions against getting overly excited during the game.

30-Second Summary

Researchers in Germany recently published a study finding that sports fans are 2.66 times more likely to have a heart attack during an important game than they are at other times.

During the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Dr. Gerhard Steinbeck, lead cardiologist for Maximilian University in Munich, and his team monitored Munich-area emergency rooms for coronary incidents.

They found that on days when the German team was playing, the number of coronary events more than doubled. Over half of the patients who experienced heart problems on game days had some prior heart disease.

"The national team [was] playing, putting the whole nation in stress," Dr. Steinbeck said.

Headline Links: A fan’s risk

Background: The physical and psychological impacts of fandom

Related Links: ‘Psychologists Tackle Fandom’ and Vinny Testaverde's father banned from his games

In 1998, the Palm Beach Post spoke with the father of former Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde, Al Testaverde.  Al was banned from watching Vinny's games by his doctor because he was at high risk for a heart attack due to heart problems. "I work myself up just listening to the national anthem" Al Testaverde said, "It's too much for me. If I watch a game, it could kill me."

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