AFCON 2023: Lagos issues advisory as NCS warns Nigerians with heart conditions ahead of final

Lagos State Government has issued a health advisory ahead of the final of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) between Nigeria and Ivory Coast on Sunday.

Lagos State Government has issued a health advisory ahead of the final of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) between Nigeria and Ivory Coast on Sunday.

Super Eagles of Nigeria and host Ivory Coast will play the 2023 AFCON final at Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan at 8:00 pm Nigerian time.

Lagos State Commissioner of Health Akin Abayomi in a statement urged residents to prioritise their health and well-being while enjoying football matches and any other intense activities.

Reports said former lawmaker Cairo Ojougboh, Ivory Coast-based Nigerian businessman Osondu Nwoye, and other fans lost their lives while watching the intense semi-final match between Nigeria and South Africa on Wednesday.

The Super Eagles mourned the late supporters who died in a “cruel twist of fate” and offered a minute silence in a team meeting after the match.

The Nigerian Cardiac Society (NCS) said football and other sports are emotional and can trigger arrhythmias, heart attacks, and strokes in those with underlying heart conditions.

“The untimely deaths of these Nigerians are a stark reminder that we must be vigilant about our cardiovascular health,” NCS president Augustine Odili, secretary-general Chizindu Aliko and publicity secretary Adeseye Akintunde said in a statement.

NCS said the causes of sudden death include complications of hypertension, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, cardiomyopathies, valvular disorders, pulmonary thromboembolism, aortic aneurysms, status epilepticus, and inherited arrhythmogenic channelopathies.

It noted that about 50 per cent of all deaths from heart diseases are sudden regardless of the aetiology, that is, the causes or set of causes.

Abayomi, in his advisory, urged football and sports lovers to understand their physical limitations and consult with a healthcare professional to identify any underlying health conditions before engaging in activities that could potentially exacerbate them.

He advised that crowded poorly ventilated hot environments should be avoided with attention to good hydration.

“Avoid excessive alcohol consumption, and ensure you drink plenty of water and eat nutritious foods to keep your body fueled and hydrated, especially during prolonged periods of sitting and watching the game,” Abayomi said.

“Take Regular Breaks: Stand up, stretch, and move around periodically to prevent stiffness and promote circulation. This can also help maintain alertness and prevent fatigue.

“Maintain Good Posture: Sit in a comfortable chair with proper back support and avoid slouching to reduce strain on your muscles and spine.”

He urged fans to stay calm and relaxed by practising techniques such as deep breathing or mindfulness to manage stress and emotions during intense moments in the game.

Abayomi advised Nigerians to be prepared for emergencies by familiarising themselves with the location of medical facilities and emergency exits at the venue, and know how to access help quickly if needed.

He urged residents of Lagos to “contact the Lagos Emergency Medical Team, LASAMBUS, at 767 or 112 toll-free lines in case of a medical emergency.”

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