Now simply watching football is bad for the heart

By Mike Pound

I want to be clear here: Iím not blaming the Associated Press for producing what quite possibly is the dumbest news story I have ever read.

The Associated Press doesnít make the news, it just reports the news. And this news actually comes from The New England Journal of Medicine.

By the way, how come New England gets its own Journal of Medicine? Isnít it enough that the region gets its own clam chowder? Why donít we get a Journal of Medicine? Oh sure, itís possible people wouldnít take a report in the Ozarks Journal of Medicine as seriously as they would a report in the New England Journal of Medicine, but still, the whole thing smacks of elitism.

I blame liberals.

What the Associated Press did was report on a study that determined watching sports could be bad for your heart. As a longtime watcher of Kansas City Chiefs football, let me be the first to say: WELL, DUH!

As I read through the Associated Press story I discovered that the study was done by some folks over in Germany and the sport referred to in the study was not even a real sport. It was soccer.
Ha. Thatís a soccer joke.

According to the AP, the study was written by a doctor named Gehard Steinbeck of the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. I know what some of you are thinking; youíre thinking, ďHey, I think we played them for homecoming.Ē

Ha. Again I joke.

What Gehard figured out was that during the World Cup competition in Germany in 2006, the number of heart attacks, cardiac arrests, episodes of irregular heartbeat and invasions of Poland were much higher than at similar times in previous years. Gehard blames that on the fact that some soccer fans got too emotionally involved during soccer matches.

I was thinking it might have something to do with the Rhine River full of German beer, the vats of sauerkraut and the miles of brats consumed by the average German soccer fan during each match. But I could be wrong.

Apparently, Gehardís study got folks in the United States thinking about the Super Bowl and the possibility that some football fans might get a tad too involved in the game and work themselves up a heart attack. I think that is sort of a stretch. I mean, come on, weíre talking about the Super Bowl. Everyone knows that your average Super Bowl consists of a five-day pre-game show, a two-week half-time show, a month-long post-game show and 14 minutes of actual football.

The Associated Press talked to some medical people in this country who urged people to use caution when watching the Super Bowl. The medical people even listed a series of things folks should do when watching the Super Bowl.

So it has come to this ó we now have to have medical advice to WATCH a sport.

One of the things the medical people suggested folks who plan on watching the Super Bowl do is ďget plenty of sleep the night beforeĒ the game.

It seems to me that if you need to get extra sleep just to watch TV you might have a few more things to worry about than getting a little worked up during a football game.

The last thing the medical people suggested (and Iím not making this up) is ďnot to get too angry with the refs.Ē

Friend No. 1: He looks so natural. How did he die?

Friend No. 2: Pass interference call.

Friend No. 1: Thatís exactly how my uncle died.

So, this Sunday, I will sit down in front of my TV and I will watch, with caution, the Super Bowl. And while Iím watching the Super Bowl one question will be running through my head: The Rhine River does go through Germany, doesnít it?

Mike Pound writes for The Joplin (Mo.) Globe.