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Watching the Rugby World Cup can kill you

The upcoming Rugby World Cup isn’t all fun and games. For some people it will be a matter of life and death, literally.

Did your heart “flutter” as Conrad Smith and Luke Mc Alistair were announced as the centre pairing for the opening All Blacks game? Cardiac arrests, drunk-driving, binge boozing, smoking, gorging on fatty snack foods with no exercise… are some of the things that’ll greatly increase during the RWC.

According to a study in the British Medical Journal, the number of heart attacks in Britainrose by 25% when England lost to Argentina in a penalty shootout in 1998. Call it a case of Beckhamitis. The British needn’t worry this time around though… even their most ardent fan is not expecting much from the English team.

A Swiss study found a 60% increase in cardiac arrests among the general adult Swiss population during the broadcast of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Psychological stress and anger are documented triggers for heart attacks.

It gets worse. Whilst a loss is bad for the heart, a victory might also do you in. A study in Wales showed injuries caused by violent assault increased when the home team won. Researchers blame it on increased alcohol consumption, which turns people into idiots. As much as we’d like to think of this as only a Welsh phenomenon, evidence suggests Kiwi’s are not immune.

With all of these health risks, who would possibly want to watch the RWC? On second thoughts, if we're going to die it might as well be in front of the telly, at some awful hour of the morning, watching grown men tackle each other in pursuit of the oval ball. What a noble way to go... as long as your life insurance premiums are up to date!

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