CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC)- Clemson and Carolina fans can really get into their games, and their annual match-up can make some of them just about blow an artery.
What can all of that excitement do to you? A study of World Cup fans found a stressful game increased the risk of heart trouble. Can an important game really put your heart through the ringer? We put it to a test on the night both Clemson and South Carolina were playing Florida teams.
First, we wired Bobby Hartin with a Holter monitor. The sports radio talk show host is a former Gamecock cheerleader, and he's still at it. He was leading cheers the night he watched the game at George's Sports Bar. Also at George's, was Everett German, who was hooked up to a heart monitor as well. He is an all around sports fanatic, is on the Cougar Radio Network and is a die hard Clemson fan. As German watched the Tigers play, he clapped while shouting, "We'll take that..that's good." That was early in the Clemson-Florida State game, when Clemson was leading. Even so, German was stressed, patting his chest yelling, "Oh good! Wooo!"
It was just as tense on the other side of the room where our Carolina fan watched the Gamecocks take on the Florida Gators. Hartin covered his face, "It's a big play here," he said."
During the field goals and tackles and everything else in between, Live 5 News kept track of both our fans using patient diaries. The diaries helped MUSC cardiologist, Dr. Frank Cuoco make a diagnosis. The data shows Bobby Hartin's heart was pounding, and with the diary, Dr. Cuoco could pinpoint what caused that.
A normal heartbeat is 60 to 80 beats per minute. During the game, Hartin's average was 100. His peak was 135 beats a minute, which is double the normal rate. "We saw the maximum heart rate at around 10:05," said Dr. Cuoco. "That's when Florida scored a touchdown and it looked like they may have a chance to come back. " And not only was Hartin's heart pounding, it also skipped some beats when Carolina scored, and when the team won the game. Hartin celebrated, screaming, "SEC champions!"
While Hartin celebrated, the Clemson side of the room was tense. German talked to the television screen, "They'll do something stupid like kick it out of bounds or give 'em the ball at the 40." German's heart skipped a beat, too. But this game wasn't getting German's heart pounding. His fastest heart rate was before the Clemson kickoff. It happened when German was watching the College of Charleston basketball game on the big screen, right next to the Clemson pre-game show.
What does all this tell us? Our fans, Hartin and German are just fine, and Dr. Cuoco says anyone could have a few skip beats during the day. But when you're jacked up watching your team play, it's just the same as jumping on a tredmill and putting your heart to the test. If you start having chest pains or you can't catch your breath, you should call a doctor. Dr. Cuoco says, "Remember, it's just a game."