The beautiful game has returned for Premier League fans across the world today, so the team at SnippetScience thought it would be a good time to dig up the archives and throw some football-related science into the mix. While many of us will be looking forward to watching our teams battle it out in the coming weeks, some may find the period that little bit more stressful. So, what does research have to say about football-related stress, and could watching footy really increase our risk of having an acute cardiovascular event? Thankfully, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has provided some answers.
The researchers investigated the number of cardiovascular events that occurred in the greater Munich area during the 2006 world cup. They found that during match days involving the German team, the incidence of cardiac emergencies was 2.66 times higher than that of an equivalent control period. The effect was particularly pronounced during the knockout stages, and there was a major increase in the number of cardiovascular events on the day of the quarter final, where Germany beat Argentina after a nail-biting penalty shoot-out. What’s more, the highest number of cardiovascular events tended to occur within 2 hours of kick-off.
The results were a first of their kind, and clearly demonstrate that watching a stressful football match can double your risk of having an acute cardiovascular event. They also suggest that preventative measures could be needed to protect at-risk fans.