Heart attacks and car crashes: the off-field Fifa World Cup drama in China
Doctors issue health warning for soccer fans with high blood pressure or heart disease
The Fifa World Cup has yet to reach the knockout stage but the tournament has already been a close call for one diehard Chinese soccer fan.
A 56-year-old supporter of Germany suffered a heart attack in the Hubei provincial capital of Wuhan after watching his team’s shock loss to Mexico over the weekend, the Wuhan Evening News reported.
The 56-year-old man, only identified by his surname Zhao, was admitted to hospital and his condition stabilised, with doctors noting his history of high blood pressure, the report said.
China did not qualify for the tournament in Russia but medical professionals have nonetheless warned sports fans with heart disease or high blood pressure that they are at increased risk of heart attack when watching sporting events.
The off-field drama continued on Monday in the southwestern megacity of Chongqing where one motorist ran his car off the road and ploughed into a sign near the airport, distracted by a live feed of the match between Belgium and Panama, the Chongqing Morning Post reported on Tuesday.
The man, surnamed Jia, was not injured but the car sustained extensive damage.
Jia had planned to be one of the tens of thousands of Chinese heading to Russia for the World Cup but had to cancel the trip because of work commitments, the report said.
Police fined him 100 yuan (US$15) for traffic offences and ordered him to pay the cost of repairing the signpost.
Not far away in neighbouring Sichuan province, another dejected soccer fan was found passed out drunk on a street in Chengdu after reportedly watching a World Cup game.
The unidentified man’s wallet, ID cards and more than 4,000 yuan in cash were strewn about next to him.
When officers tried to rouse the man, he reportedly muttered: “Leave me alone, we lost the game, we lost.”
Police managed to contact one of the man’s friends, who took the inebriated individual home.