In the study’s abstract the authors conclude that “A [Super Bowl loss] triggered increased deaths in both men and women and especially in older patients, whereas a [Super Bowl victory] reduced death more in those aged ≥ 65 years and in women.”
But the statistics analysts at STATS, a non-profit affiliate of George Mason University, disagree.
Dr. Rebecca Goldin, MIT grad, mathematician, and Director of Research at STATS, insists that media “parakeets” were duped by the study, and that it’s problems are plentiful.
Here’s her argument against the study:
- It compares many February days to January days, and January days are riskier than other months due to December holidays.
- It uses many different ways to slice the data without adjusting the statistics for multiple testing.
- It claims causality without sufficient support.
- It only looks at Los Angeles and ignores other cities whose teams were involved.
- It ignores trends in demographics and health care over a period of years.
- It ignores whether those who died were fans of the teams playing or just casual Super Bowl viewers without an affiliation — or if they even knew that the game happened.
“As far as this study is concerned, no doctor is going to tell you to sit it out,” assured Goldin in her article.
So don’t worry Packers and Steelers fans. It looks like it’s safe to watch on Sunday.
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