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  • AFCON: Experts caution football lovers as five die watching Nigeria, South African match
  •  Medical experts and sports enthusiasts have advised sports lovers, particularly football fans, to avoid watching tension-filled matches that can excite them and trigger their known or underlying health issues.

    They gave the advice in separate interviews with NAN in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on Friday.

    DAILY POST reports that no fewer than five Nigerians died following the anxious moments that characterised Wednesday’s semi-final match between Nigeria and South Africa in the ongoing African Cup of Nations, AFCON games in Cote D’Ivoire.

    The tension-soaked match, which ended in penalty kicks, saw Nigeria eventually winning 4-2 and progressed into the final stage.

    The Medical Director, Ashamby Hospital, Moniya, Ibadan, Dr Muhammed Odedeji, said he was worried that many Nigerians usually go around with little or no knowledge about their health and wellbeing.

    “It is unfortunate that we lost a number of people while watching a football game.

    “This can only serve as a wake-up call for people to show more care about their cardiovascular wellbeing.

    “Many people are walking with severe hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases and they are not aware because most cardiovascular diseases are usually not symptomatic until their last stages.

    “For instance, most hypertensive patients will not know until they get stroke, heart attack, sudden blindness or maybe they are diagnosed accidentally while presenting themselves for minor ailments in the hospital.

    “People regularly check the components of their vehicles but don’t go for regular medical check-ups.

    “Of course, poverty also plays a big role in people’s disposition to their health conditions,” he said.

    Odedeji, who is also the Publicity Secretary of Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Oyo State branch, said that medical check-ups, especially for those older than or equal to 40 years, were non-negotiable.

    “If you are already diagnosed with a chronic medical condition, accepting such a condition is important, while taking all the prescribed medications is equally paramount,” he said.

    Odedeji urged individuals with cardiogenic conditions to stay away from highly-exciting conditions such as football matches.

    “Regular health education on medical conditions that can lead to sudden death should be taken seriously by various media houses.

    “Also, government should help to eradicate poverty because it has been proven to be a backbone to poor health conditions and lack of regular medical check-ups,” he said.

    Similarly, a neurologist at University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Dr Temitope Farombi, advised people to know their health status before watching football or getting engaged in any other activity that excites them.

    “If you know you have any heart condition or you often get chest pain when you excite yourself, then avoid watching sports like football,” Farombi stated.

    A psychologist from University of Ibadan, Prof. Oyesoji Aremu, also urged Nigerians to be at peace with themselves while watching football matches to avoid dire consequences.

    Aremu advised those who could not withstand shock to avoid live matches but rely on getting to know the outcomes, either by checking for the results online or asking those who watched the match.

    “When people watch football matches and if it has to do with countries that are volatile in football like Nigeria, it leads to the release of so many chemicals in the brain which will now work at cross purposes with the body.

    “This can further lead to negative stress instead of eustress (which is positive). This can be counter-productive and injurious,” Aremu said.

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