Super Fans: Don’t Put Your Health on Hold During the Game

Why it’s not a good idea to delay medical care for any reason

Super Fans: Don’t Put Your Health on Hold During the Game

It can be hard to walk away from the TV during the biggest sports event of the year. For many people, it’s so difficult to leave a highly anticipated event like the Super Bowl that they delay seeking medical care until the game’s decided.

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Several studies have detected a decline in activity level in hospital emergency departments during major televised sporting events.

Likewise, many physicians working in emergency departments often notice a spike in volume about an hour or so after a major sporting event has occurred. This signals that people might have been waiting to seek medical care until the game’s over.

RELATED: Are You a Super Fan? Avoid Damaging Your Voice

Don’t wait to get treatment

Holding off on a trip to the emergency department because you want to catch the end of a game is not a good idea, says emergency department physician Tom Waters, MD, FACEP. It could even be dangerous, he says.

“Certainly don’t delay your care just because of an athletic event,” Dr. Waters says. “If it’s serious enough to be an emergency, you need to get there as quickly as possible.”

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You absolutely need to call 9-1-1 if you or a family member or friend develop serious symptoms such as chest pain or symptoms of stroke — numbness, weakness, or loss of vision, Dr. Waters says.

For every second that passes, a stroke patient can lose millions of neurons in the brain. So the sooner treatment is received, the less likely a person will be left with a permanent disability.

“There is no game in the world that is worth delaying medical care for,” Dr. Waters says.

RELATED: Don’t Ignore Chest Pain — Even If You Don’t Have Blockages

Don’t overdo it

Life-threatening medical situations such as stroke warrant calling for immediate emergency help. But even if a circumstance is not life-threatening, you still may need to go to the emergency department.

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Emergency doctors often treat people who need care after a big game because they overdid it during the victory celebration, Dr. Waters says.

“Many of the things that we see during a big event like the Super Bowl are directly related to overindulgence, whether it’s overindulgence of food, overindulgence of alcohol, or even overindulgence of exuberance for the game,” Dr. Waters says.

It’s fine to whoop it up after a big win, but try to find ways that don’t involve overdoing it.

“The key is moderation in everything,” Dr. Waters says.

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