NCBI ROFL: World Cup Week: Can watching World Cup football kill you?

By ncbi rofl | June 28, 2010 7:00 pm

186600314_f87703416fAdmissions for myocardial infarction and World Cup football: database survey.

“OBJECTIVES: To examine hospital admissions for a range of diagnoses on days surrounding England’s 1998 World Cup football matches. DESIGN: Analysis of hospital admissions obtained from English hospital episode statistics. SETTING: England. PARTICIPANTS: Population aged 15-64 years. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Ratio of number of admissions for acute myocardial infarction, stroke, deliberate self harm, and road traffic injuries on the day of and five days after England’s World Cup matches, compared with admissions at the same time in previous and following years and in the month preceding the tournament. RESULTS: Risk of admission for acute myocardial infarction [heart attack] increased by 25% on 30 June 1998 (the day England lost to Argentina in a penalty shoot-out) and the following two days. No excess admissions occurred for other diagnoses or on the days of the other England matches. The effect was the same when only the two days after the match were treated as the exposed condition. Individual analyses of the day of and the two days after the Argentina match showed 55 extra admissions for myocardial infarctions compared with the number expected. CONCLUSION: The increase in admissions suggests that myocardial infarction can be triggered by emotional upset, such as watching your football team lose an important match.”

heart attacks world cup

Another study found similar results in Swiss fans:

Increase of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the male population of the French speaking provinces of Switzerland during the 1998 FIFA World Cup

And it’s not just World Cup games–watching local professional football is also associated with increased heart attack rates:

A matter of life and death: population mortality and football results.

“OBJECTIVES: To determine whether football results are associated with mortality from circulatory disease. DESIGN: Retrospective study, comparing mortality on days of football matches between 18 August 1994 and 28 December 1999 with the results of the football matches. SETTING: Newcastle and North Tyneside, Sunderland, Tees, and Leeds Health Authority areas of England…. …MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Mortality attributable to acute myocardial infarction and stroke. RESULTS: On days when the local professional football team lost at home, mortality attributable to acute myocardial infarction and stroke increased significantly in men (relative risk 1.28, 95% confidence intervals 1.11 to 1.47). No increase was observed in women. CONCLUSIONS: Results achieved by the local professional football team are associated systematically with circulatory disease death rates over a five year period in men, but not women.”

population mortality and football

Image: flickr/Giorgio Montersino

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NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing").Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl


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