England's loss to Argentina in a World Cup match in 1998 ending with a penalty shootout increased heart attack rates by 27 per cent. The fact that extreme stress and emotion can cause a heart attack in vulnerable people is known to almost everyone.However, research carried out at the the time of a key football match between England and Argentina during the 1998 World Cup has provided further evidence that hospital admissions for heart attack, stroke, self-harm and road traffic injuries increased during the days following the match.
The match ended with a penalty shoot out - a tense situation where in each team takes a shot at the goal and the one who misses first loses the game. England lost the game - and the researchers recorded a 27 per cent rise in heart attack admissions on that day and the following three days. Examinations of the admisssions around the same date in the previous and following years showed no excess hospital admissions for any other cause.
The viewers however, only have a choice of finding some positive ways of dealing with the stress, considering that the football authorities are not likely to change the rules of the game!