Being excited for your team, rooting them on and suffering vicariously with them are the grand emotions that wash over spectators of football matches. If this increases the risk of stroke remains to be elucidated, as the number of strokes that occur on days with major matches is not significantly higher than on days when no football is played. This is the conclusion of a Portuguese study that was presented today at the Second Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) in Copenhagen.
Many studies suggest that stress during crucial matches can trigger heart attacks or strokes in passionate football fans. A group of researchers from Lisbon has now examined data from 2012 to 2015 to determine how high the risk actually is of enthusiasm at a football match triggering a stroke. The study focused on hospital statistics around crucial matches of the three best Portuguese clubs. As it turned out, there were 72 strokes on and after match days and 52 during comparable periods when no matches were played. Study author Dr Cláudia Borbinha from Hospital Egas Moniz, Lisbon, Portugal, issued an all-clear signal anyway: “The absolute number of strokes during football matches may have been higher but it was not an above-average outlier. Our data therefore furnishes no significant indications of a correlation between enthusiasm for football and increased risk of stroke.”