Athletic performance has always inspired viewers to a higher performance. Emergency Department visits actually decrease during the most popular sporting events like playoff games of any sport. In particular those that match the community cheering for the local team. In New York, during the World Series, Yankee fans would be least likely to go to the Emergency Department during the games. In Los Angeles, LA Lakers games or the finals would keep Lakers fans tied to the game and away from the Emergency Department; in Chicago, the White Sox playing the Cubs; and football games the same; during the Olympics a wider audience is captured across the world.
After the event during the inspirational haze is when the greatest risk of needing an Emergency Department occurs. Sports viewer athletes with a pumped up enthusiasm for the sport try to mimic the performance on the field. The push to perform with the excellence of professional athletes is beyond the reach of the average weekend warrior. Emergency department healthcare professionals witness the aftermath of sports related injuries post sports event viewing and an increased push to perform beyond the level of conditioning.
Inspiration is a gift of the most pure form, and the Olympics provides inspiration in a multitude of ways for athletes, past athletes, and future athletes. Sports psychologists and coaches wish they could capture the inspiration and enthusiasm that would motivate their athletes to the next level of performance. Inspiration and enthusiasm is a good thing, but it needs a healthy dose of perspective. When using this Olympic inspiration and enthusiasm, use it for training purposes, not to push beyond your capacity; aspiring to get into better condition and then to safely perform at the next level. Remember these Olympic athletes have professional trainers, doctors, coaches, and years of professional training to perform safely as these levels.
Post athletic event viewing enthusiasm can lead to severe injuries that will prevent you from ever performing in athletic events in the future. Not to place a downer on anyone’s enthusiasm from watching the Olympics, but sports related injuries match the most watched events of the day: basketball, football, baseball, soccer, volleyball, swimming, gymnastics, etc.
Enthusiastic parents wanting their children to become the next generation of Olympic athletes can also push too hard for their athletic children to perform. A healthy dose of pushing can and does work, but caution during the inspirational haze of the Olympics is recommended.