Avoid watching AFCON final if you have Cardiovascular conditions, medical expert cautions Nigerians ahead of the Sunday match

, February 10, 2024 – Professor Ranti Familoni, an expert in Medicine and Cardiology from the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, has advised Nigerians with “unstable cardiovascular conditions” to stay away from the Sunday African Cup of Nations final between Nigeria and Ivory Coast.

The medical expert was reacting to the phenomenon of people collapsing while enjoying sporting activities and during social gatherings, leading to sudden death. 

Speaking in an interview with PUNCH, the medical expert confirmed that these were cases of sudden cardiac death, saying it usually occurred in people with an underlying heart disease, which they may or may not be aware of.

He said, “For many people (when they see someone collapse), their first reaction is to run away. This is wrong. People run away from those who have epileptic attacks, saying the saliva that comes out from the mouth will make others have epilepsy, which is wrong. In running away from them, some have been left to choke from the attack and die. What people call magun during exhausting sexual intercourse might be a sudden cardiac death following exercise. The use of sexual enhancement drugs, particularly in people with underlying heart conditions, should be discouraged.” 

On the final AFCON game, he said, “Use your drugs and control your emotions. I have a doctor colleague who stays away from football matches because it is difficult for him to control his emotions. However, the issue is not only for those who already know that they have heart conditions but for the very many who are not aware. Hypertension, for example, is called a silent killer because up to 50 per cent of those who have it are not aware that they have it. There is also a condition called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy in which the individual is unaware but it manifests after a stressful condition, including disappointment and bereavement, and might lead to sudden death.”

When asked who should stay away from Sunday’s match, he said, “Everybody but particularly those with what I call unstable cardiovascular conditions. The match will come and go, but the individual and his life will continue. One good thing that can come out of this unfolding event is for everyone to take time to see their doctor and check their cardiovascular status.

“The first warning is to at the very minimum check your BP. Other things might not be practicable before Sunday. If your heart starts beating too fast or irregularly, it is time to get up and probably seek help.”

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