One of the well-known football Team Managers in South Africa Kgoloko Thobejane said “football can kill”. It is so as what even Malawi football has seen having lost lives as a result of game results.
A football fan in Blantyre a Mr Padambo recently collapsed while listening to a TNM Super League match between champions Nyasa Big Bullets and Mighty Wanderers where his team Bullets lost. He died at South Lunzu Health Centre the following day and his burial took place on Tuesday, September 28th, 2021.
He is probably one of the many cases with some unreported; about football lovers who collapse while listening to match commentaries, failing to say it is possible that some even collapse while watching live matches in different venues across the country.
It is possibly the fact that most of these people that collapse while listening to football commentaries when their team is failing have medical conditions that maybe should have not even allowed them to be watching or listening to football.
Sports analyst Higger Mkandawire says “in football we have wins, draws and losses. Supporters are advised to accept the results; they should avoid denials”.
Team doctor for Nyasa Big Bullets Felix Mwalule says much as it is something very difficult to deal with, there still can be things to do. “You need to understand football is life. There is that feeling that comes when you score and that feeling that comes when you concede. Some could be a shocker so depressing and others could elevate your mood.
“Well, someone with high blood pressure (BP) is ×2 (times two) at risk of having sudden collapse when such traumatizing events happen. They could have a sharp rise in BP that may trigger an ischaemic attack resulting to cardiac arrest or sometimes a stroke.” Mwalule said.
The issue looks now to be more serious than just a 90 minutes match which can be replayed next week or next season. It seems there are many people with such medical conditions that patronize or listen to match commentaries whether in a group or alone somewhere. Maybe at home.
Another Analyst Vincent Phiri says much as he does not celebrate death, it is part of the game of football. “That is the beauty of the game of football. The game of football is emotional, reactional, exciting, fun. It is about sorrow, sadness, torture. I can say it is a combination of a lot of things that altogether bring the beauty of the game of football.
“So, when somebody breaks or falls because something has happened to his or her team, that part is what excites the game of football. I cannot advise someone that just because when you are following football and you can break, then the game of football is no longer beautiful; no.
“It is sad that we have lost somebody just because of the game of football; obviously. However, if you look at the other side of it, it will also give you the test of what type of game you are watching.” Phiri said.
He added that the collapsing and other emotions happen to people based on how they value the game. “To other countries, the game of football is a religion. So, people will react in a fanatic way because they take football as religion. You can actually bear with those people when they react or death has occurred in the process of the emotional reaction to the game of football.
“To others as well, football is just part of them. So, anything can happen to their life if anything goes not the way they anticipated.” Phiri added.
It seems it is an issue that the above members and even many others including as you are reading the story can agree that it is critical, understanding that the game of football is meant to bring among other issues fun and entertainment; and not death. Death is not part of the expectations.
Now, what can be done in this situation where those with medical conditions such as Hypertension (BP) are found watching or listening to football matches and eventually collapse due to the negative results they receive?
“The best way to approach this is the same way you are going to approach other instances like funerals. There are people who actually say they cannot attend a funeral because they can die of BP, heart attack.
“So, like those people who avoid to attend funerals, I can say the same to advise those people who are very emotional and can break down anytime if their team loses.” Vincent Phiri says.
In a way, Phiri says those people who know have medical conditions should better avoid listening or watching games so that they avoid emotional reactions that may eventually cost their life.
What about Team Doctor Felix Mwalule? “People with cormobidies need to be assessed and be followed up at hospitals. This is why we have clinics in different hospitals to deal with such situations.
“In addition, it is all about understanding and knowing your health status, and this cannot be done if you are not able to present your complaints to proper health personnel or rather, if you are just home feeling unwell.” Mwalule added.
He concluded by saying some of the people at risk of such events are those who are obese and with high BPs, including those with diabetes, smokers and the elderly.
Higger Mkandawire insists it should always be about learning to accept results of the game. “As human beings, we have our own health challenges which affect us when we get unexpected results.
“So, let us appeal to all Supporters to accept any result; mainly losses. We cannot stop them from watching or listening. This happens in every country.” He said.
It is what it is. The game of football. Fun and entertainment are key. Everyone must contribute. Not death.