HeadLine: DIE-HARD FANS’ FINAL WHISTLE
The Mirror, 22/12/2000, p8
by SHAUN MILNE
THEY think it’s all over – it is for football fans who can’t cope with
big match pressure.
Many simply drop down dead when close games reach a climax.
Health warnings should be posted for crunch matches such as Old Firm
and Edinburgh derbies as fans risk having a heart attack watching them.
Supporters are being told they should swap a pre-match pint for an
aspirin to ensure that they’re not carried off to the big early bath in
Boffins in Utrecht, Holland, found that Dutch supporters fell down dead
when their national team was knocked out of the 1996 European
Fatal heart attacks and strokes soared by 50 per cent among men as
Holland lost in the nail-biting penalty shoot-out.
Professor Diederick Grobbee, of the University Medical Centre in
Utrecht, said stress was a major factor, along with the traditional
footballing fayre of booze and fatty food.
And Scots, fans with their passion for pre-match drink and cigarettes,
face a high risk.
Professor Grobbee, writing for the British Medical Journal, said he and
his team studied what happened among men in his country during the 1996
Holland reached the quarter finals against France, a game played in
England on June 22.
It was watched by 9.8million people in his homeland.
That counted for about 60 per cent of the 15.5million population.
He analysed mortality data from the Dutch central bureau for statistics.
The number of deaths on the day of the match was compared with the
average occurring over the preceding and following five days.
And it showed the number of men dying from heart attacks and strokes
rose significantly in that 24-hour period.
About 14 extra deaths occurred – a rise from an average 27.2 to 41 –
representing an increase of around 50 per cent.
But there was no corresponding difference in the figures for women, and
no similar figure was recorded in either 1995 or 1997 when no football
was being played.
The researchers said: “The difference between men and women requires
“Heavy alcohol use, overeating, and excessive smoking may also play a
“But aspirin or beta-blockers may prevent acute cardiovascular events
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