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German study finds World Cup literally causes heart attacks

All these extra time results and penalty shoot-outs are too much.

Germany Soccer Brazil WCup German fans celebrate their team's first goal as they watch the last 16 match with Algeria. Source: AP/Press Association Images

THE WORLD CUP quarter finals begin their two-day spin this evening as France take on old rivals Germany at the Maracanã in Rio.

Both sides have endured scares, of the minor and major variety, to reach the last eight but the real tension is only beginning. Supporters from one of the countries will go from dreaming of capturing the World Cup one moment to contemplating a long-haul flight home the next.

It is worth noting, then, an interesting study from German scientists [highlighted by Vox], which concluded that the 2006 World Cup was directly linked to an increase in heart attacks.

Researchers at Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich tracked data on emergency room visits in the country’s hospitals during the 2006 staging of the event, which the Germand hosted. On six of seven days when Germany was playing a World Cup match [they reached the semi final], there was a spike in irregular heartbeats and heart attacks.

The study [graph below] shows that there was 2.7 times more cardiovascular events than normal. The biggest increases were during the quarter-final, when Germany beat Argentina in a tense penalty shoot-out, and the semi defeat to Italy.

HEART ATTACKS Source: @voxdotcom

The scientists concluded, “Viewing a stressful soccer match more than doubles the risk of an acute cardiovascular event. In view of this excess risk, particularly in men with known coronary heart disease, preventive measures are urgently needed.”

As Alex Ferguson oft surmised, “Football, bloody hell.”

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Patrick McCarry

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