Super Bowl Stress Can Lead to Heart Attacks

February 1, 2011
Sean Johnson

New research has given new meaning to the term die hard, especially when it comes to overzealous sports fans.

New research has given new meaning to the term “die hard,” especially when it comes to overzealous sports fans.

It turns out that the emotional stress that fans suffer following their team’s loss may be significant enough to trigger a heart attack, according to a new study in the journal Clinical Cardiology. The chances are greater if the fan already suffers from heart disease (or if they are already at for heart disease due to factors like smoking, obesity, and diabetes).

, for the study, researchers “analyzed death records in Los Angeles County for the two weeks after the 1980 and 1984 Super Bowls, both of which featured teams from Los Angeles,” and found that “in 1980, when the Pittsburgh Steelers staged a fourth-quarter comeback to beat the underdog L.A. Rams, heart-related deaths shot up 15% among men and 27% among women in the subsequent two weeks, compared with the same period in 1981 through 1983.”

Researchers found that older fans are more at risk for the stress-related heart attack related to watching the big game. And it isn’t just men who are at risk; Bloomberg points out that the authors of the study specifically mention that “women may respond emotionally to the Super Bowl loss because they, like the men, care about football, or because they are negatively affected by a partner who is upset about a loss.”

So Packers and Steelers fans, be warned. Of course the excitement of the big game will get you stirred up, but make sure to take some deep breaths from time to time. After all, it’s only a game, right?

Around the Web

Super Bowl may trigger heart attacks [CNN]

Super Bowl could raise the risk of a heart attack: study [NY Post]

Study: Super Bowl stress can be harmful to fans' hearts [USA Today]

Super Bowl Stress Can Raise Heart Deaths in Football Fans, Study Finds [Bloomberg]