During the 2006 World Cup, researchers at the Munich University Clinic in southern Germany found that cardiac arrests and palpitations among men in the greater Munich area were more than tripled compared to the same period over 3 preceding areas. For women, the rate was double.
The researchers also found that “the more important the game, the greater the risk”. The number of heart attack cases actually surged when Germany played in the quarterfinals against Argentina (Germany won), and in the semifinal against Italy (Germany lost). Both games were decided after extra time and penalty shootout, which has already been found as a risk by previous research.
As the figures are so alarming, some experts urge patients with potential risk to take stress-receptor blockers, aspirin and statins, or even consider behavior therapy to calm them down before sitting down the soda to watch the football matches. The health experts even advise those patients who had a heart attack or who are considered to have a high cardiac risk to avoid watching important matches.
In fact, researchers at the University of Birmingham, in central England, already discovered that the number of heart attacks in Britain rose by 25 percent on the day England lost to Argentina on kicks in the 1998 World Cup. As such, they had suggested that penalty shootouts should be scrapped “on public health grounds”.
Then, there are the longer-term health problems for the football fans: they tended to develop into couch-potato lifestyle: non-stop boozing and snacking on starchy, fatty, salty or sweet foods. Such unhealthy lifestyle is partly responsible for major health problems like obesity, diabetes and heart disease found in Europe. Some health experts even blame the match organizations for advertising unhealthy products. They believe such act will do no good for the public health, and instead help the football spectators cultivate their unhealthy lifestyle.
Besides cardiac arrests, the reported number of emergency calls, wife beatings, depression, drunken driving, self-harm and even suicide is rising during major football sessions.
Can you imagine, a football fan would eventually be led to such a disaster by just watching football matches!