During Euro 2012, the world has now learned a painful lesson: intense fandom can come at a horrible cost.
A Chinese soccer fan died from exhaustion after staying up 11 nights in a row in an attempt to watch every single European Championship game. Hunan province’s Sanxiang Metropolis newspaper reported that the man died on June 19, calling the fan by the false name Jiang Xiaoshan to protect his family’s identity. Jiang, who was supporting England and France in the tournament, returned to his home after watching Italy beat Ireland 2-0 with friends. He took a shower and then fell asleep at 5 a.m. Jiang died in his sleep that night.
Jiang’s home in Changsha, located in south-central China, is six hours ahead of Warsaw and five hours ahead of the match sites in Ukraine. For fans in China, most matches do not start until 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. After staying up all night to watch tournament games, Jiang would undertake a full day’s worth of work at the office, his friends said.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the combined effects of alcohol, tobacco and sleep deprivation were the cause of the 26-year-old’s death. His friends were shocked when they heard of his untimely passing, saying he lived a “relatively healthy life.” Jiang had even played soccer for his university’s team a couple of years before.
Dr. Liu Zhiling of the local People’s Hospital emergency room told the Sanxiang Metropolis, “Jiang was in good health. But staying up through the night and not sleeping enough weakened his immune system, and he drank and smoked while watching the [soccer games], triggering his condition.” She added, “If you use beer to replace water, that is not good.”
Chinese soccer fans have forced themselves to survive without sleep before. Several people were admitted to hospitals in China during the Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010 World Cups for chronic exhaustion.