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J Neurol. 2009 Jun;256(6):863-6. doi: 10.1007/s00415-009-5024-7. Epub 2009 Mar 1.

Lack of increase of cerebrovascular events during German World Cup soccer games in 2006.

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Justus-Liebig University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany.


An association of passively watching a soccer game with an incidence of cardiovascular events was previously reported. With access to the stroke database of the Federal State of Hesse, Germany, we examined whether the incidence of cerebrovascular events was elevated during the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup in Germany from 9 June to 9 July 2006 on days of matches involving the German team and whether particular characteristics were noted in stroke patients on these days. We analyzed a prospective stroke registry and calculated incidence ratios for the 7 days of matches played by the German team as compared with the control period ranging from May 2006 to July 2006 using a Poisson regression with a log link to model the number of cerebrovascular events per day for all patients and for subgroups of patients, grouped according to sex, severity of stroke, type of stroke and risk factors. About 2,918 patients with ischemic stroke or intracerebral hemorrhage were included. The regression model did not disclose a higher incidence of cerebrovascular events on days of matches played by the German team. Onset admission time on these days was significantly reduced. In contrast to recent observations regarding cardiac events, we found no effect of passively watching soccer games on incidence of stroke or intracerebral hemorrhage, probably because of the different underlying pathophysiologies of stroke and cardiac events. Onset admission time was slightly reduced on days when a German match was played, probably since more strokes occurred under observation of potential support persons, reflecting the tendency of German people to gather to watch matches played by the national team.

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