As millions of Americans prepare to tune into the Super Bowl
this weekend, remember that a little common sense can keep the
excitement on your TV screen and out of your living room.
“I’ve seen a number of injuries, some fatal, occur on Super Bowl Sunday because people often pay more attention to the game than to their health and safety,” said Dr. Jeff Kalina, associate medical director of emergency medicine at The Methodist Hospital in Houston.
Kalina said the ER is usually busy every year after the big game and he and his colleagues expect it to be no different on Sunday.
While the activities that can lead to injury are obvious, like drunk driving, others, like eating too much junk food, may seem completely harmless until the damage is done.
Kalina said stomach ailments, some severe, can occur from combining too much alcohol with too many salty, calorie-dense snack foods.
Combining too much alcohol with the urge to watch Superbowl commercials can also lead to an embarrassing condition known as urinary retention, a condition where the bladder gets so full the muscles are not strong enough to generate a stream.
“During most sporting events people will get up and use the restroom during the commercials and not have any problem,” said Kalina.
But since the commercials can sometimes be the best part about Superbowl Sunday, many people forgo bathroom breaks. Kalina said the only remedy for a full, exhausted bladder is a catheter.
Adding to the list of alcohol-related injuries that can occur on Super Bowl Sunday is a potential for domestic violence.
“There is a lot of testosterone flying around during the Super Bowl. You mix that with alcohol and underlying relationship problems and you have a recipe for disaster,” said Kalina.
Kalina recommends women who have a potentially violent husband on their hands should consider staying away from the house or party that night. (Or, perhaps, the overzealous hubby can stay at a buddy’s house that night until he cools off?)
Kalina has seen all types of cases following the Super Bowl, many of which included too much alcohol: a man so drunk he broke his teeth trying to open a beer bottle, people who threw out their backs by abruptly standing to cheer, and one guy so unhappy with his losing team that he threw his television out the window of his third floor apartment.
Luckily no one was on the street below.
Kalina's advice for staying safe is something many football junkies might have a hard time doing: remember, the Superbowl just a game.
“Don’t drink too much, don’t eat too much, and get up and go to the bathroom. Doing all these things will make your gathering and viewing of the Big Game much more enjoyable.”