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Winning, losing, and violence
  1. V Sivarajasingam,
  2. S Moore,
  3. J P Shepherd
  1. Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr V Sivarajasingham
 Violence Research Group, Cardiff University, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XY, UK;


Background: Although international sports events attract huge interest, and results can be a barometer of popular national standing, their impact on violent behaviour has not been investigated.

Methods: Associations between assault related emergency department (ED) attendances and international sporting events (home and away rugby and soccer matches) in a European capital city (Cardiff) served by one ED, between 1 May 1995 and 30 April 2002 were investigated. The frequency of assault related ED attendances were studied relative to whether the national team won or lost, controlling for potential covariates: match attendance, match location (home/away), results (win/lose), net scores, and day of match (weekend/weekday). Multiple linear regression was used to identify significant associations with ED assault related attendances.

Results: Matches which the Wales team won (p = 0.03), match attendance (p<0.001), and weekend matches (p<0.001) were positively associated with ED assault related injury attendances. Assault frequency measured in this way was no different for home and away matches.

Conclusions: Assault injury resulting in ED treatment was more frequent when national teams won than when they lost. Sport type made no difference. Violence prevention efforts should be increased on international match days, when the national team is expected to win, when match attendance is large, and for away as well as home matches.

  • international sport
  • violence
  • winning
  • losing

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  • Competing interest: the authors declare no competing interest.