How watching your football team lose really can break your heart and defeats can kill you

Daily Mail Online Lifestyle 1 week ago

Every football fan knows all too well the heartbreak caused by seeing their team lose.

But now scientists are warning that the stress caused by watching soccer defeats really can damage your heart – and even kill you.

According to a new study, fans of losing sides are 29 per cent more likely to suffer a deadly cardiovascular emergency – such as a heart attack, angina, acute coronary syndrome or stroke – on a match day than at other times.

Football agony: Stressed-out fans can be killed by the stress of watching soccer defeats or it can damage your heart, according to scientists. The England team are pictured following their loss to the Czech Republic
Football agony: Stressed-out fans can be killed by the stress of watching soccer defeats or it can damage your heart, according to scientists. The England team are pictured following their loss to the Czech Republic 

By comparison, supporting the winning side is linked to a 20 per cent lower chance of a fatal incident.

Because the downsides of losing outweigh the positive effects of winning, spectators are on balance six per cent more likely to suffer a deadly heart-related event on match day.

Men appear more vulnerable, with their chance of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events increasing more steeply on football days than women. 

The scientists thought it could be because men tended to care more about football.

Their research, outlined in the Journal of Sports Sciences, concluded: 'Cardiovascular events are triggered by great mental stress and emotional upheaval in relation to soccer matches'.

Distraught: Experts say the knock-on effect of men caring so much about football, including stars such as England captain Harry Kane (pictured), leads to their health woes
Distraught: Experts say the knock-on effect of men caring so much about football, including stars such as England captain Harry Kane (pictured), leads to their health woes

They also suggested 'increased alcohol and tobacco consumption to relieve upset feelings' might be a factor, and said 'precautionary measures' were needed at matches.

Alex Roberts, of sport publisher joe.co.uk, said: 'Anyone who's seen their team concede a 90th-minute winner knows how stressful football can be. 

'But it's worth remembering that it's only a game.'


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