After Nigeria’s victory in the AFCON 2024 match against South Africa, tragic reports of death by heart attack drowned out the thrill of triumph among Nigeria’s football lovers.
As fans rejoiced over the team’s qualification for the finals, reports began to surface of viewers who slumped and died during and after the match.
Some of the deaths have been linked to high blood pressure.
This tragedy has sparked widespread concern, leaving people curious about the connection between high blood pressure and teh anxiety of football matches.
We examined how watching a match can affect blood pressure and how to watch a match safely.
WATCHING A MATCH AND THE RISK OF A HEART ATTACK
There’s indeed evidence that watching a match can put a viewer at risk of suffering a heart attack.
According to several studies, cardiovascular events including heart attacks and sudden cardiac death increase surrounding high-stakes games, especially in spectators who have underlying conditions.
A study also found that hospital admissions for cardiovascular problems increased by 15% during and just after the 2018 World Cup soccer games.
The increase in cardiovascular problems can be linked to the physical and emotional intensity of football, which can place significant stress on the body.
Meanwhile, stress does a lot of things to the body including the release of adrenaline and other hormones into the bloodstream.
These hormones, however, increase blood pressure and heart rate which tax the cardiovascular system, leading to an increased risk of heart attack.
HOW TO AVOID HEART ATTACK WATCHING A MATCH
Manage the stress
Truly, when watching a football match the tension is always high. However, for your heart’s sake, you need to stay calm as much as possible.
High-stress situations, such as intense football matches, can elevate blood pressure and increase the risk of heart issues.
To help you stay calm and manage your stress, practice relaxation techniques like meditation, mindfulness, and intense breathing.
Deep breathing is found to be effective in slowing your heart rate and reducing blood pressure.
This kind of breathing gives you a chance to manage those feelings and your stress levels, allowing you to calm yourself easily.
Hydration and a healthy diet
Dehydration can put additional strain on the heart, so ensure to drink plenty of water throughout the game.
However, avoid taking alcohol.
Alcohol can affect heart health and increase blood pressure.
Also, be mindful of what you eat before, during and after the match.
Avoid foods and drinks that can contribute to high blood pressure and heart issues like high-salt foods and fried foods.
Opt for healthier options like fruits and vegetables.
Take advantage of halftime to stretch your legs and move around.
Gentle exercise, like walking or stretching, can help improve circulation and reduce the risk of blood clots.
Know your limits and when to seek help
Apart from your doctor, you are the only one who knows about your health condition, risks, and limitations.
Be mindful of your body’s signals.
Also, be aware of the signs and symptoms of increased blood pressure, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and dizziness.
If you experience any concerning symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek attention immediately.
While there’s always the option to catch up on the match through recorded clips, there’s no second chance when it comes to life.
So if you’re feeling any discomfort or signs of distress during the game, don’t hesitate to seek immediate medical attention.
JUST IN: Jose Peseiro resigns as Super Eagles head coach
Jose Peseiro has announced his departure from his Super Eagles head coach role.
In a post on his X account on Friday, the Portuguese said his contract with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) had run out, and no new deal had been agreed on.
Peseiro, appointed Eagles head coach in 2022, described his tenure as “22 months of immense dedication, sacrifice, emotion, and enormous enthusiasm”.
He expressed gratitude to the players and top brass at NFF, adding that “we will always be there for you, no matter where you are”.
“Yesterday, we concluded our contract with the NFF. It was a pride and honour to coach the Super Eagles. It has been 22 months of immense dedication, sacrifice, emotion, and enormous enthusiasm. We feel a sense of fulfilment,” the tweet reads.
“We would like to express our gratitude to Sir Amaju Pinnick (the president who signed us), President Ibrahim Gusau, General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi, Secretary Dayo Enebi, the NFF, all the Staff, and especially all the PLAYERS, with whom leading has been a great pleasure.
“Guys, we are thankful; it has been a privilege to be part of this family. We will miss you, but we will always be there for you, no matter where you are. A big hug to all of you.”
Ronaldo gets 1-match ban for obscene gesture to fans chanting ‘Messi’
The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) has banned Cristiano Ronaldo for one match for his obscene celebration on Sunday.
Ronaldo scored in Al-Nassr’s 3-2 win away to Al-Shabab in their Saudi Pro League match, leading to chants of Lionel Messi, his perennial rival, by the home supporters.
This provoked a response from Ronaldo who cupped his ear before repeatedly pumping his hand forward in front of his pelvic area.
His action appeared to be directed at the rival Al Shabab supporters.
Although the celebration was not captured on local broadcasts, a fan uploaded the video on social media.
The footage was thereafter presented to the disciplinary and ethics committee of the SAFF who stated that the Portuguese striker violated article 57-1 of the disciplinary and ethics regulations.
Ronaldo was also asked to pay a fine of 10,000 Saudi riyals ($2,666) to the Saudi Football Federation and 20,000 riyals to Al Shabab to cover the costs of the complaint filing fees.
In a statement on Wednesday, the committee said the decision is not subject to appeal.
It is the eighth disciplinary action of Ronaldo’s storied career and his first since joining Al-Nassr. He was previously fined and banned for two matches in November 2022 by the English FA for smashing the mobile phone of a young fan during his second spell at Manchester United.
Ronaldo joined Al-Nassr on a free transfer from Manchester United in December 2022. He has scored 20 goals in 22 league games this season for Al-Nassr.
Super Eagles’ friendly game against Argentina cancelled over visa problems
The scheduled friendly match between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Albiceleste of Argentina has been cancelled.
In January, The Argentinian Football Association (AFA) announced that the country’s men’s senior team will be playing Nigeria in March.
The reigning world champions were scheduled to play the Eagles at the Olympics Sports Center stadium in Hangzhou, China, as part of a tour between March 18 and 26.
However, in a statement on its website on Tuesday, AFA said the fixture has been moved to the US, and the Super Eagles will not be participating.
The statement added that “an administrative problem with visas” ruled Nigeria out of the friendly match, and Costa Rica has been drafted as replacement.
“Due to an administrative problem with visas, the Nigerian National Team will not be able to play its match against the Argentine National Team, scheduled for the double date in March in the United States. That is why the Costa Rica National Team will replace the African team on the stipulated schedule,” the statement reads.
The Super Eagles finished second at the recently concluded Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d’Ivoire. Nigeria lost 2-1 to the hosts in the final.
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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.
She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others
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