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J Epidemiol Community Health 68:869-873 doi:10.1136/jech-2013-202844
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Mortality on match days of the German national soccer team: a time series analysis from 1995 to 2009

Editor's Choice
  1. O Kuss2,3
  1. 1Institute of Medical Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Informatics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Halle-Wittenberg, Halle (Saale), Germany
  2. 2German Diabetes Center, Leibniz Institute for Diabetes Research at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Institute for Biometry and Epidemiology, Düsseldorf, Germany
  3. 3Centre for Health and Society, Faculty of Medicine, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Daniel Medenwald, Institute of Medical Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Informatics, Medical Faculty, Martin-Luther-University of Halle-Wittenberg, Magdeburger Str. 8, Halle (Saale) 06112, Germany; daniel.medenwald{at}uk-halle.de
  • Received 14 May 2013
  • Revised 7 January 2014
  • Accepted 11 April 2014
  • Published Online First 8 May 2014

Abstract

Background There is inconsistent evidence on population mortality, especially cardiovascular disease mortality, on match days of national soccer teams during particular international tournaments. This study examines the number of deaths in Germany on match days of the national soccer team during a long-term period including several tournaments.

Methods We analysed all registered daily deaths in Germany from 1995 to 2009 (11 225 966 cases) using time series analysis methods. Following the Box/Jenkins approach, we applied a seasonal autoregressive integrated moving average model. To assess the effect of match days, we performed an intervention analysis by including a transfer function model representing match days of the national team in the statistical analyses. We conducted separate analyses for all matches and for matches during international tournaments (European and World Championships) only. Time series and results were stratified in terms of sex, age (<50 years, 50–70 years, >70 years) and cause of death (cardiovascular deaths, injuries, others). We performed a further independent analysis focusing only on the effect of match results (victory, loss, draw) and kind of tournament (international championships, qualifications, friendly matches).

Results Most of the results did not indicate a distinct effect of matches of the national team on general mortality. Moreover, all null value deviations were small when compared with the average number of daily deaths (n=2270).

Conclusions There is no relevant increase or decrease in mortality on match days of the German national soccer team.