Study Examines Super Bowls & Heart Attacks

By Dr. Maria Simbra

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Could a football game be bad for your heart?

A new study can’t prove cause and effect, but raises some interesting patterns. With the Super Bowl coming up, Steelers fans should take notice.

The hearts of Steelers fans are on winning the Super Bowl and for good reason.

A study in the journal Clinical Cardiology says heart attack deaths are higher when the home team loses.

It’s something this cardiologist has seen in lieu of the Super Bowl.

“I was treating a patient who had come in with an acute coronary syndrome who was intensely involved in the routing for the outcome for his team,” says Dr. John Schindler, a cardiologist at UPMC.

The study is based on data from Los Angeles after the 1980 loss to the Steelers and then the 1984 win against the Washington Redskins.

Heart-related deaths are 22 percent higher for people over 65 on Super Bowl loss days compared to non-Super Bowl days and 27 percent higher for women. On Super Bowl win days, there’s a lower number of heart-related deaths in those over 65 and among all women.

“People tend to be a little more lax with respect to their adherence to dietary measures, they tend to potentially engage in other behaviors which are not necessarily healthy from a cardiovascular standpoint,” Dr. Schindler surmises.

Not such a far-fetched scenario, if you ask this man, who had a cardiac event at this bar after watching a Jerome Bettis fumble in 2006.

“That was such a climactic moment, I just couldn’t handle it. And I felt a little thump, thump, thump, and I thought, ‘What is that?’ And that’s all I remember, and I just slid to the floor,” says Terry O’Neill.

“Earlier in the game they were carrying on, yelling and screaming. Somebody had knocked him over early in the game, and I thought they were just horsing around again, but not this time. He was down and out,” says Dave Grady, a fireman from Carrick.

“You really need to avoid an emotional investment in the game,” cautions Dr. Schindler. “Watch the game with friends, take it easy, don’t sit in your basement, isolate yourself and scream at the television.”

Earlier studies have looked at World Cup soccer games, earthquakes and other emotionally charged events. But those focused on men. This is the first showing women being especially affected. Something to take note of around here since a sports marketing survey says Allegheny County has the highest percentage of female NFL fans in the country.

  • Wilbur

    Testimonial to the low intellect of some people are and how they got their priorities backward. It’s also a sad reflection on how such people lack anything of real value or substance in their lives that they attach themselves to a sports team.

    • Steve

      Wilbur, what’s wrong with someone having passion for something? Being that emotionally invested in the Steelers shows the amount of passion that a person can have for something they enjoy, even though they don’t have a true vested interest I’m it. With how close the tie is between the Steelers and our city and regional pride, I think the connection is as much between the person and their city as it is between a msn and a mere football team. I can think of many worse things than a man having that much pride for his community.

  • Beantown4

    Don’t root too hard. It’s only a game. A game. Life is prcious, live it!


    Wibur is apparently a Packers fan.


    I hope the Steelers lose and then their plane crashes on the way back home. That would be so awesome! Go Packers!!!!

    • VoiceOfReason

      FUPGH is a perfect example of why Steeler fans are the best in the world. We root for our team with all our heart and soul, support them and will them to win in whatever way we can, but a Pittsburgher would NEVER trash another team like that. It’s great to back your own team dude, but wishing death on the Steelers? That’s one of the saddest, most selfish and pathetic things I’ve heard in quite some time. Grow up and be a man, with a sense of honor and respect.
      Best of luck to both teams in SBXLV, and GO STEELERS!!!

      • FixPGH

        Why do Steeler fans try to label themselves as perfect fans? I have heard so much trash talk on other teams by Steeler fans, it really doesn’t set you apart. A friend of mine from college was spit on in a parking lot by a Steeler fan because she was driving a car with an OH license plate and just happened to be wearing a random orange sweater the day after the Bengals beat PGH.

        Get off your soap box, Steeler fans are just as arrogant and disgusting as any other fans. Maybe YOU have the decency not to be, but you aren’t the entire fan nation.

  • Pittsburgh Ain't Broke

    Ya know, it was probably a generalization. It HAPPENS. It’d be near impossible for a dedicated, yet average fan to collect stories and statistical data from a significant body of fans from every team in the league to determine whether or not Steelers fans are as “disgusting” as any other fans. So the guy was probably speaking from his/her own experience, not trying to be an expert! It’s honesty, not arrogance.

    Also, the phrase is off your “high horse,” not “soap box,” genius.

    P.s. Your friend probably got spit on because she was from Ohio, not because of the football game (and probably because the guy was drunk – HINT: that tends to happen at football games!). Ohio SUX haha

  • Important things… on a Thursday? « Tech – for Everyone

    […] A reader sent me this: “I just saw a report on our local tv news that women have more of a chance of a heart attack watching the Super Bowl than men.  Here is the link for you to read… […]

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