Just ice it until the game is over

According to a study recently performed by a doctor at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, the number of men going to emergency rooms drops during televised sporting events, and increases after the games end.


I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that the number of men pushing a cart up and down the aisles of grocery stores, mowing their lawns or paying any kind of attention whatsoever to personal hygiene or their children also drops considerably when the alternative is sitting on a couch in an air-conditioned house with a cold beer and a chest full of brownie crumbs. I mean, come on, this is not exactly an eye-popping, standard-setting kind of study, is it?

Funny thing about setting standards, by the way. If the standard set by a group or individual stinks, is it really worth crowing about it in the first place? Let’s face facts, if I were to set the standard for ear-splitting flatulence in public settings, would I wear that label proudly? Probably not a good example in my case. But many people would most likely bury their heads in the sand out of humiliation and ...

But I digress.

I admit I was a little interested in reading about this study when I saw it teased on the front page of cnn.com the other day. The story was headlined, “Study: Men delay medical care when the game’s on.” Well, that makes sense, I figured. Men delay just about anything when a game is on. In fact, I’ll go a step beyond that, and argue that men will delay just about anything for anything else.

It’s what we do — part of our charm, really. See, it’s not just taking out the trash or cleaning the gutters or getting our arms sewed back on in a timely manner because we’re watching “Home Improvement” reruns or flipping through a magazine that holds no redeeming value whatsoever. No, no, we’ll also put off doing stuff we genuinely enjoy if we happen to be doing something else at the time. It’s not a matter of procrastination as much as it is an element of genetic laziness.

Would I put off going to the emergency room because I was busy watching my beloved Orioles getting their heads bashed in by any number of teams? Absolutely. But I would suggest that I would also put off a trip to the emergency room because I happened to be studying my fingernails or trying to find out exactly where that odd egg-like smell in the living room is coming from at different times of the day.

It’s not a case of machismo at play, it’s simply a case of being a guy.

The doctor who led the study, Dr. David Jerrard, stated that the number of men checking into the emergency room at his hospital is about 30 percent lower during televised games. In the latest research conducted by Dr. Jerrard, the number of men checking into the emergency room in the four-hour period starting 30 minutes after a game concludes is about 40 percent higher during the same period on days when there is not a game being played.

It would seem there are more men going to emergency rooms on days they are watching sports on television than on days they are not. Remote control injuries? Choking on Doritos? Men being hit on the head with frying pans because they’re ignoring their wives and watching games on television as opposed to painting the front porch?

Or, do women actually do that outside of “The Flintstones?”

Dr. Tom Scaletta, the president of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine, was not surprised by the information gathered by Dr. Jerrard. He said that when he was younger he worked the emergency clinic during Chicago Cubs games for extra money, and found that about one-third of the patients asked if they could wait until the end of the game to go to the emergency room. When told that Dr. Jerrard’s next study would go into the nature of emergencies during these spikes in emergency room activities, Dr. Scaletta wouldn’t hazard a guess into what would be discovered.

“Alcohol, of course, does change the logic stream for a lot of people,” he offered.

Ah, so that would explain the problem. Joe Schmoe is sitting on the couch all day with his buddies, pounding booze, and he decides it’s a really good idea to a) punch his one friend in the kisser who has been talking smack all day about his team getting killed, or b) stumble out to the grill and flip the hot sausages with his tongue.

Either way, they’re waiting until the game ends to drive to the emergency room.