View Full Version : Tickers at risk for fans of team losing the Super Bowl

01-31-2011, 07:14 AM
Tickers at risk for fans of team losing the Super Bowl
By Chris Ramirez
Monday, January 31, 2011
Doctors and football fans know heart-stopping moments are part of any Super Bowl.

Now, a study by a California cardiologist found that death rates associated with heart problems climb in a city immediately after the home team loses a Super Bowl.

"Stressful games for some people elicit an emotional response that can trigger a cardiac event," said Dr. Robert Kloner, professor at Good Samaritan Hospital and the Keck School of Medicine at University of Southern California in Los Angeles. "That clearly happens when rabid fans who have deep emotional ties to their team get excited."

Kloner collected Los Angeles County death-certificate data for the two weeks after the Steelers defeated the L.A. Rams in Super Bowl XIV and the two weeks after the L.A. Raiders beat the Washington Redskins in 1984. He compared it to mid-January death rates for years Los Angeles teams weren't in the Super Bowl.

His findings, published today in the journal Clinical Cardiology, found a 15 percent increase in circulatory system-related deaths in men and a 27 percent increase among women, associated with Super Bowl loss. Among older patients, the increase associated with Super Bowl loss was 22 percent.

The Steelers will go for their NFL-record seventh Lombardi Trophy on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, Texas.

Doctors advise Steelers fans watching the game on TV: If you feel chest pain, don't wait for the game to end.

"When the Steelers are playing in the Super Bowl, everything stops. ...You don't even get people coming into the ER," said Dr. George Gabriel, a cardiologist at Allegheny General Hospital. "It's almost as if it's OK to die, as long as you see the game from start to finish."

Dr. John Schindler, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Cardiovascular Institute, was on duty during the Steelers' Super Bowl appearances in 2006 and 2009.

He treated a man in his 50s who collapsed from cardiac arrest while watching the Steelers' divisional playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts. The man survived but told Schindler the last thing he remembered before blacking out was Steelers running back Jerome Bettis' infamous fourth-quarter fumble at the Colts' 2-yard line.

Colts Cornerback Nick Harper recovered the ball and was tackled at midfield by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers won the game on their way to their Super Bowl XL victory in Detroit.

Chris Ramirez can be reached at cramirez@tribweb.com or 412-380-5682.

Read more: Tickers at risk for fans of team losing the Super Bowl - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/print_720564.html#ixzz1Cc9XlSIn