• Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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BusinessDay

AFCON: Stay away from your TV screens today – Medical experts tell Nigerians with ‘weak’ hearts

Beyond the pitch: Unmasking Nigeria’s economic anguish Post-AFCON

…As 5 football fans pay ultimate price for passion

With the casualties recorded a few days ago which experts suspected to be a result of cardiac arrest arising from over excitement associated with passion for football, Nigerians have been advised, ahead of today’s match, to know their health status and those with weak hearts should stay away from their television screens.

Five Nigerians tragically collapsed and died while engrossed in watching a match, a series of events that underline the potential risks associated with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions heightened by the intense excitement of such occasions.

Experts caution that the combination of pre-existing cardiovascular issues and heightened emotional arousal during exciting events like sports matches can significantly elevate the risk of adverse cardiovascular events such as heart attacks or strokes.

The surge in adrenaline and stress hormones during moments of excitement can strain the heart, particularly in individuals with underlying heart conditions.

As the country braces for the upcoming final match today, Sunday 11 February Nigeria v Côte d’Ivoire, experts have advised Nigerians to be cautious and take proactive measures, especially for individuals with known cardiovascular issues.

They recommended moderation in emotional involvement, taking regular breaks during intense moments, and ensuring access to emergency medical assistance if needed.

They have also advised that those with known heart disease should stay away from their television screen.

Additionally, individuals with pre-existing heart conditions should consult with their healthcare providers to assess their readiness for engaging in emotionally charged activities like watching sports matches.

Ultimately, while the thrill of sports events can bring communities together, it’s crucial to prioritise individual health and well-being to prevent tragic outcomes like those witnessed during the recent match.

In light of recent incidents where individuals collapsed while watching sports matches, Michael Balogun, a retired professor of medicine and consultant cardiologist, emphasised that it is critically important to understand the potential risks of cardiovascular health associated with intense emotional experiences.

Balogun said: “Cardiovascular health is not something that happens suddenly. A healthy heart doesn’t just happen overnight. There may be underlying conditions that individuals are unaware of, such as hypertension or abnormal heartbeats, which can predispose them to sudden cardiac events.”

He emphasised the impact of intense emotional arousal, particularly during sports events like football matches, which can significantly elevate blood pressure and heart rate to dangerous levels.

“The mental stress and excitement of watching sports can be a trigger for adverse cardiovascular events, especially in individuals with predisposing risk factors,” Balogun warns.

As the country prepares for the upcoming match today, Balogun urged Nigerians to prioritise their health and well-being, especially during emotionally charged events like sports matches.

Read also: AFCON: Sudden deaths of football fans spark calls for improved emergency care

He also said: “It’s essential to start exercising early in life and adopt healthy lifestyle habits to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.”

Remi Omowaiye, a former Osun State commissioner for works, issued a caution on Thursday, February 8, advising Nigerians managing hypertension to refrain from watching today’s final between the host Cote d’Ivoire and the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

“I want to advise Nigerians in their interest, especially those managing hypertension. They should not watch the final match on Sunday,” he said in a statement he personally signed.

Omowaiye, who personally experienced intense emotions during the semi-final, expressed that he would not watch the final live but would opt for a replay after the match concluded.

“They better wait till the game ends and watch the replay. The way I felt, particularly when a penalty was awarded against Nigeria during the semi-final match, I had never felt like that in my whole life. I was shivering.”

He urged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to pay tribute to those who lost their lives during the semi-final, emphasizing the need to honour their memory.

Read also: AFCON Final Preview: Key Stats and Betting Tips for Nigeria vs Ivory Coast clash

Highlighting the urgency of the situation, he emphasized that individuals with hypertension should avoid the emotional stress associated with live football matches.

Omowaiye cited instances of reported deaths during the semi-final, including a leader of the APC in Delta State, Cairo, a Nigerian businessman in Cote D’Ivoire, and the deputy bursar of a university in Kwara State, among others.

Recall that a Chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Cairo Ojougboh, Deputy Bursar, Kwara State University, Malete, Ayuba Abdullahi, a corps member serving in Adamawa State, identified as Samuel, and an Anambra-born businessman, Osondu Nwoye, based in Cote d’Ivoire, died while watching the match last Wednesday.

In Ogun State, a 43-year-old man, Mikail Osundiji, was reported to have died while watching the semi-final Wednesday, February 7, 2024.

According to reports, the father of two went into shock and died while watching the match at a public viewing centre in Olomoore area of Abeokuta.

Eyewitness report said the deceased died when the referee cancelled Nigeria’s second goal by Victor Osimhen against South Africa.