Rabid Football Fan? The Super Bowl Could Kill You

Loss at the big game associated with increase in heart deaths
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2011 8:30 AM CST
Rabid Football Fan? The Super Bowl Could Kill You
A Pittsburgh Steelers fan yells during the first half of the AFC Championship NFL football game against the New York Jets in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Whether you’re a Steelers fan or a Packers fan, try not to get too excited about the Super Bowl—or you could end up … dead. Scientists found that a Super Bowl loss is associated with a spike in heart-related deaths, while a win is associated with a decrease in such deaths, Time reports. Sure, the Super Bowl may not seem like a life-or-death event, but researchers note that any stressful event can trigger a heart attack. And they theorize that the more stressful the game—and the more emotional fans get—the higher the risk might be.

To determine the results, scientists studied Los Angeles County death certificate data for the months of January and February during the years 1980 to 1988. After the Rams lost in 1980, men experienced 15% more heart-related deaths than in non-Super Bowl years, while women experienced 27% more. When the Raiders won in 1984, there was a dip in such deaths. Surprised that women, too, experienced the effects? Researchers note that even women who aren’t football fans might be affected by the emotions of the male fans around them.
(More Super Bowl stories.)

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