As millions of Americans prepare to tune in to 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.
Dr. Jeff Kalina, associate medical director of emergency medicine at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, has seen a number of injuries - some fatal - occur on Super Bowl Sunday, because people pay more attention to the game than to their health and safety.
"The ER is usually busy after the game and we expect it to be no different this Sunday,' he said. "Super Bowl game day usually brings on a rise in drunken driving accidents and stomach ailments because of the mixture of alcohol and junk food."
And people who drink too much and fail to get up and go to the bathroom can also develop a problem called urinary retention, a condition where the bladder gets so full that 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," Kalina said. "However, most of the time the commercials are the best part of the Super Bowl, so we have seen people who have to come in and have a catheter put in to relieve themselves."
Super Bowl Sunday also brings with it a rise in domestic violence cases. "A lot of testosterone is flying around during the Super Bowl. You mix that with alcohol and underlying relationship problems and you have a recipe for disaster," Kalina said. "If a woman is in a relationship where this is happening, it might be best to stay away from the house or party on Sunday."
Kalina has seen all types of cases following the Super Bowl: from a man so drunk he broke his teeth trying to open a beer bottle, to people who threw out their backs by abruptly standing to cheer; to 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.
"People have to remember that the Super Bowl is just a game," Kalina said. "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."
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