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Soccer Penalty Shoot-Outs Can Trigger Heart Attacks
December 19, 2002 5:31 PM   Subscribe

Soccer Penalty Shoot-Outs Cause Heart Attacks English reasearchers have determined heart attacks increased shortly after an England/Argentina match that ended in a penalty shoot out. They conclude that in the interest of public health, penalty shots should be abandoned. Are they seriously saying this with a straight face? And what on earth prompted such a study?
posted by davebush (20 comments total)

 

I also read somewhere that wife beating increases in Scotland in the days after a Scotland loss.

Horrible game, soccer.

Aussie Rules rules!!!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:42 PM on December 19, 2002


There was a higher incidence of bruised feet and damaged furniture in my house during last year's NHL playoffs.
posted by adampsyche at 5:54 PM on December 19, 2002


Here in Arizona, high school level games are not allowed to use shootouts as a way to resolve ties because of the pressure put on the goalkeeper. Apparently, a goalkeep shot himself fatally after losing a state championship by missing a shootout goal. Nasty thing, that, but it does make a rather convincing point that some people invest a lot of emotion in sporting contests.

As for banning shootouts on the professional level because television viewers can't handle the excitement, well, that's just ludicrous. I mean, overweight individuals and pregnant mothers are urged not to ride rollercoasters but no one suggests banning them. Even a normal person could get zapped by an aneurysm at a theme park. Don't like the risk? Don't buy a ticket.

Maybe portly fans should spend more time emulating their sports idols and less time idly watching them.
posted by mmcg at 6:02 PM on December 19, 2002


well, it's very pretty...




Does it have anything to stop US pilot's killing British soliders? (Sorry couldn't resist)
posted by keno at 6:12 PM on December 19, 2002


totally wrong article - ignore post.
posted by keno at 6:16 PM on December 19, 2002



You had me TOTALLY scratching my head for four minutes keno!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:20 PM on December 19, 2002


Sports zealots excite selves to death? Darwin @ work.
posted by stonerose at 6:37 PM on December 19, 2002


American hockey aviators shoot british pilots with stick.
hahahaha
posted by ac at 6:39 PM on December 19, 2002


This doesn't surprise me. Ever since my heart condition took a bad turn, even an exciting movie can bring on chest pains.
posted by mischief at 7:13 PM on December 19, 2002


This is just another example of spurious correlation. But correlation is is not causation.

Another example: my kitty was born in 1986, the year that Halley's comet had it's closest approach to the earth. Since then, the comet has gotten farther from earth every year - and kitty has gotten older every year. There is a perfect correlation there - it will pass all of the statistical tests that those medical researchers used.

Obviously, Halley's comet is making my cat get older. How can you argue otherwise? There is a 100% correlation!

So if we prohibit astronomers from studying comets then kitty will live forever, right? And if they don't stop studying them, I can sue them if kitty dies of old age?
posted by Jos Bleau at 7:25 PM on December 19, 2002


The researchers, having found this evidence, were obligated to suggest that shootouts be banned. Almost all scientific papers end with calls for more research on the papers' topic, too. Its really just a formality.
posted by gsteff at 7:28 PM on December 19, 2002


Suppose, on the other hand, that the research is solid (as these scientists obviously believe, no matter which direction Halley's Comet is heading in right now), and imagine you're the head of FIFA. You know that people at risk should decide for themselves not to go to games, so as to protect themselves, but you also know that they're going to go anyway. So you basically know that if there's a shootout, there's a statistical near-certainty that some fans are going to die because of it.

Assuming there are alternate rules that are a lower risk overall, how can you possibly justify not changing the rules?
posted by mattpfeff at 8:02 PM on December 19, 2002


NEWSFLASH - " 'Sex tied to death', Researchers say."
posted by troutfishing at 8:19 PM on December 19, 2002


Assuming you take this research at face value, which kitty and I don't for a second, you could argue that penalty shots that induce heart attacks are a social good,a nd should be encouraged.

Why? Trust me, this isn't a tautology - people who have heart attacks are people who going to have heart attacks - they have bad heart disease! Its literally a just a matter of time (or timing, as the researchers say) until they have their MCI.

Now, the thing that makes heart attacks killers isn't just their severity, it's the fact they go often go untreated until it's too late. Often, overly male victims ( probably a soccer fan if living in the UK) don't seek help until it's too late.

Now, if you doubled the number of heart attacks that occurred, but could arrange for all of them to happen while the victims are in hospital hooked up to monitoring equipment, the death rate due to heart attack would plummet - maybe to only 10 or 15% of what is now. In any case, seeking help just 1 our after an attack doubles your chances of a succesful recovery than if you wait 2 hours to get help.

How does that affect penalty shots? Well, you can't put all the soccer fans in hospitals on game days to wait and see if they have MCIs, but if you know that attacks are going to occur then, you can run awareness adds that say "hey, soccer fans, that sudden pain you feel in your side just might be a heart attack - call emergency services right away!"

You could even preposition ambulances near pubs and schedule extra emergency staff at hospitals.

Remember, people who have heart attacks are people who are going to have a heart attack.

So the death rate due to heart attack on soccer match days might go down a lot, actually.

How could you then possibly justify not holding penalty kicks?
posted by Jos Bleau at 8:30 PM on December 19, 2002


Speaking from experience of that shoot-out, I damn near had a heart attack and I was a healthy 27 at the time...
posted by salmacis at 12:31 AM on December 20, 2002


The December issue of The British Medical Journal is almost always full of light/funny material & studies like this. They also reported in the same issue that they have proven statistically that King Tut curse is a myth
posted by ssheth at 6:55 AM on December 20, 2002


Here in Arizona, high school level games are not allowed to use shootouts as a way to resolve ties because of the pressure put on the goalkeeper. Apparently, a goalkeep shot himself fatally after losing a state championship by missing a shootout goal. Nasty thing, that, but it does make a rather convincing point that some people invest a lot of emotion in sporting contests.

I was a goalkeeper in grade 7 and my team made it to the city semifinals. The match ended in a tie and we went to a shootout. Well I let in one goal and the other goalie let in none. Of course I felt shitty, but I also realized that my teammates didn't help any by not scoring a goal. Of course a State championship is more stressful than a city playoff, but changing the rules to make sure nones' feelings are hurt is ridiculous. Might as well just give everyone a "Thanks for coming out" trophy.
posted by smcniven at 8:30 AM on December 20, 2002


Personally, I'd love to see the shootout rule disappear. Nothing says 'the previous 120 minutes were pointless' like winning a game because the opposing goalkeeper dove to the left instead of the right. Might as well base the match on a coin flip...
posted by Gilbert at 8:48 AM on December 20, 2002


Damn straight.
Shootouts are stupid and should be abandoned for that reason alone. (Are you listening Olympic hockey organizers???)
posted by Fabulon7 at 10:16 AM on December 20, 2002


For a few seconds I thought this post was about Commotio Cordis...
posted by titboy at 1:05 PM on December 21, 2002


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