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A matter of life and death: population mortality and football results
W Kirkup and D W Merrick J. Epidemiol. Community Health 2003;57;429-432 doi:10.1136/jech.57.6.429

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429

RESEARCH REPORT

A matter of life and death: population mortality and football results
W Kirkup, D W Merrick.............................................................................................................................

J Epidemiol Community Health 2003;57:429–432

See end of article for authors’ affiliations

.......................
Correspondence to: Bill Kirkup, NHS Northern and Yorkshire, John Snow House, Durham University Science Park, Durham DH1 3YG, UK; Bill.Kirkup@doh.gsi.gov.uk Accepted for publication 14 January 2003.......................

Objectives: To determine whether football results are associated with mortality from circulatory disease. Design: Retrospective study, comparing mortality on days of football matches between 18 August 1994 and 28 December 1999 with the results of the football matches. Setting: Newcastle and North Tyneside, Sunderland, Tees, and Leeds Health Authority areas of England. Subjects:All persons resident in Newcastle and North Tyneside, Sunderland, Tees, and Leeds Health Authority areas of England. Main outcome measures: Mortality attributable to acute myocardial infarction and stroke. Results: On days when the local professional football team lost at home, mortality attributable to acute myocardial infarction and stroke increased significantly in men (relative risk 1.28, 95%confidence intervals 1.11 to 1.47). No increase was observed in women. Conclusions: Results achieved by the local professional football team are associated systematically with circulatory disease death rates over a five year period in men, but not women.

T

he late Bill Shankly is said to have highlighted the significance of professional association football to many people in characteristicallypithy terms.

land according to the results of all competitive games involving the major local football team over a five year period.

METHODS
We took the results of the 1094 first team competitive football matches played by Newcastle United FC, Sunderland AFC, Middlesbrough FC, and Leeds United FC between 18 August 1994 and 28 December 1999 from Rothmans Football Yearbook.9–14 For each team,match results were grouped as either a home defeat or any other combination of result and venue. We examined the effect, using t tests15 of home defeat on the mean number of deaths on match days from acute myocardial infarction (ICD9 410/ICD10 I21–22) or stroke (ICD9 430–438/ ICD10 I60–69) in the health authority area in which these clubs are based: Newcastle and North Tyneside, Sunderland,...
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