Will the Super Bowl Kill You?

New research shows the emotional toll after a team's loss may trigger heart attacks in fans

Image courtesy of health.com

Hey, Philly sports fans—keep this in mind the next time one of our teams takes a big loss: New research shows that watching your favorite team lose doesn’t just suck, it may actually kill you. While this study looked at Super Bowl-triggered deaths, and most of us won’t be emotionally involved in this Sunday’s game, I’d love to see the stats on Philly-area heart attacks after the Phillies lost last year’s National League Championship Series.

A new study suggests that the emotional stress fans feel after a loss may trigger fatal heart attacks, especially in people who already have heart disease. Stress generates the so-called fight-or-flight response, which causes sharp upticks in heart rate and blood pressure that can strain the heart.

“Fans develop an emotional connection to their team…and when their team loses, that’s an emotional stress,” says the lead author of the study, Robert A. Kloner, M.D., a professor of cardiology at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, in Los Angeles. “There’s a brain-heart connection, and it is important for people to be aware of that.”