ERs ready for Florida-Georgia rivalry fallout
Annual game brings heightened tensions, along with increased health and safety risks.
Johnny Woodhouse Published: 10/26/2018
Rivalry games attract huge bipartisan crowds, causing tempers to flare and behaviors to change at the flip of a coin.
Researchers have found that rivalry games, like Saturday’s nationally televised Florida-Georgia football game in Jacksonville, can cause fans to make riskier decisions with their health and safety, such as consuming more alcohol than usual during the game, especially if it’s a close contest.
According to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research, games where the outcome remains undecided until the very end increases competition-associated testosterone, which can spill over into aggressive behaviors.
The Florida-Georgia football game is one of the most storied rivalries in college football, attracting more than 80,000 fans to TIAA Bank Field and creating an economic impact of more than $30 million to the city of Jacksonville.
Hospitals in close proximity to the football stadium will be impacted as well, but for a different reason.
“Our ERs will see a number of injuries and illnesses directly attributed to this weekend’s Florida-Georgia game,” said Baptist Health emergency physician Matthew Rill, MD, who also serves as CEO of Emergency Resources Group.
Last month, more than 70 fans were treated for heat-related issues at TIAA Bank Field when the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars hosted the New England Patriots in record-high heat. With temperatures expected to be in the low 70s at kickoff, heat won’t be as much of a factor in tomorrow’s Florida-Georgia game.
Temperaments will undoubtedly flare, but Baptist Health ERs will be ready and waiting around the clock for whoever needs emergency care, no matter if they are dressed in blue and orange or red and black.
“We always bring in more staff on big event days in Jacksonville, just in case, and this is one of the biggest,” said former trauma nurse Darin Roark, vice president of Ambulatory Campuses and Emergency Services for Baptist Health. "As always, if you believe your life or health is in danger due to an injury, accident or medical condition, get someone to take you to an emergency center as soon as possible or call 9-1-1."