Can watching high-pressure sports like Blues playoff hockey affect your health?

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ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Blues pulled out a late victory in their second-round playoff game against the Dallas Stars.

An up and down Game 3 is enough to give any Blues fan some elevated blood pressure or at least register with your health tracking device.

But is it possible that a stressful sporting event could cause a heart attack?

“Highly unlikely. You may have some elevation or fluctuation of your heart rate, which is normal. But it actually causing a heart attack is pretty low,” said Dr. Amit Doshi, a cardiologist at Mercy Hospital. “It’s just a roller coaster of emotions.”

“Patients who already have a preexisting cardiac monitor in place often times we’ll see those fluctuations in the heart rate and you can time it to when the game is on television. Doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, just a normal response.”

A spike in your heart rate during a power play or any fast-paced Stanley Cup playoff game is enough to bleed blue over into your everyday life. Just ask Noah Cohan, the MA program coordinator for American Culture Studies at Washington University; he wrote the book on this.

“They connect their own personal fortunes of the team they follow. So it can make for really emotional outcomes for them,” said Cohan. “But there are ways sports fans operate that sports psychologists have theorized about … That’s basking in reflected glory by which sports fans associate themselves with the team strongly. They say things like, ‘We are in the playoffs. We might win the Stanley Cup.’”


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