SI Vault
Edited by Robert Creamer
December 14, 1970
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December 14, 1970


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A "football heart team" that stands by during football games at the University of Nebraska stadium in Lincoln has given emergency care to 11 spectators who were stricken at games over the past five years. Dr. Stephen W. Carveth, the heart surgeon who developed the mobile coronary care unit, says he decided to form the team after he learned that three persons had died of heart attacks in the stadium during the 1965 season. "The most ardent football fans are likely to be those in the 40 to 60 age group," he explains. "Usually they've driven a number of miles to the game. They may have had a drink or two before the game, which would reduce their heart-pumping ability. Then they climb up 100 steps to reach their seats. Before the game even starts they are in a very stressful condition and are setups for heart attacks."

Eight of the stadium heart patients collapsed in the stands and were reported by volunteer spotters. The other three walked to the unit and complained of severe chest pains. Examination revealed that they were in the first stages of a heart attack. All survived.

Another fan, a prominent Lincoln attorney named Hymen Rosenberg, had a heart attack last December at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, where he had gone to watch Nebraska play Georgia. This year his doctor told Rosenberg he could not watch Nebraska play unless he wore a telemetric surveillance device, which would allow the heart team to monitor his reactions to the excitement. During the game an alarm sounded via walkie-talkie that Rosenberg's pulse had ceased to register, and a volunteer ran to the attorney's seat in the grandstand. The story had a happy ending. It turns out that when a fan wired for cardiac response enters the heavy concrete enclosure of the men's room, the signal fades out.


Writers and broadcasters around the Big Eight customarily make preseason predictions of the order of finish in conference football play. Picking Nebraska to win this year was no great trick, but the rest of the league was amazingly tangled. Kansas State and Oklahoma ended in a tie for second and third, Colorado and Missouri in a tie for fourth and fifth, and Kansas and Oklahoma State in a tie for sixth and seventh. Iowa State was last. Impossible to predict, but John Brooks of KWTV in Oklahoma City did it, with perfect accuracy. "I never called the race right before," Brooks said, "but this year I decided the teams were mostly so even that there was no way they could play a complete conference schedule without some ties. I took it from there."

One last note, football fans. Brooks' special field is broadcasting hockey.

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