The Super Bowl May Kill You
. . . If the coverage of how the Super Bowl may kill you doesn’t do you in first.
Every time one of our teams makes it to the playoffs, the Globe digs up as many medical studies about the effects of high-pressure sporting events on spectators as possible. There is still not a cure for cancer. Autism rates are skyrocketing. But thank God we know that being emotionally invested in a game can raise our blood pressure and possibly give us a heart attack.
This long, proud tradition began back in the ALCS of 2004.
Len Zaichkowsky, head of the sport psychology program at Boston University, says he once measured a fan during a hockey game whose pulse reached 180 — the heart rate of a professional runner during a competitive race. While such bursts of reaction and longer-term sports anxiety tend to be harmless, some doctors note it may exacerbate existing heart problems.
During the 2007 World Series, the Globe watched as researchers from MIT tracked a Sox fan’s physical response to the few stressful moments of Game 1.
Sometimes, when she’s watching the Red Sox, Elena Tate said, she feels “like I’m going to die.”
If Elena believes the latest study out of Germany, it’s possible she could die from watching a sporting event.
When Germany competed in pivotal soccer matches during the 2006 World Cup, the incidence of heart attacks and other acute cardiovascular conditions soared in Bavaria, scientists report in today’s New England Journal of Medicine.
What is a football fan supposed to do to ward off an imminent death?
Do not drink too much alcohol or overeat junk food, he said. “Just be careful.” In case of symptoms such as chest pain or heart palpitations, do not delay seeking treatment, [Dr. Gerhard Steinbeck] said.
Thanks, but we’d rather die from a heart attack brought on by a shanked field goal attempt than skip buffalo wings followed by a six-pack of Sam Adams. A life without stress and snacks on Super Bowl Sunday is a life not truly lived.