Measuring the Effects of Stress on the Basketball Court

ABC News
Beyond The HeadlineMarch 19, 2014

Most of us encounter stress and stressful situations on the job. But what happens to your body when you are under intense pressure?

To find out, we teamed up with ESPN’s John Brenkus who put sensors on Michigan State men's basketball team coach, Tom Izzo to monitor his vital signs during a tense game.

Before the game his heart rate is around 68 beats per minute and his breath rate, around 14 breaths per minute. Those are pretty healthy numbers for a 59-year-old.

But nine minutes into the game, Tom Izzo’s team is down by 12 points. His heart rate jumps to 120 beats per minute and his breathing rate also doubles to 30 breaths per minute.

With less than six minutes in the game, the referee makes an unfavorable call which sends Izzo’s core body temperature skyrocketing before it peaks at 100 degrees, his heart rate soars to 135 beats per minute. And for those suffering from heart problems, this could have severe health consequences.

According to Dr. Russell Berdoff, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in New York City, “it’s really not the stress that you can lessen, it’s your response to the stress . . . You need to find a way to deal so that you don’t internalize it.”

If the stress is long-term, doctors say that it could lead to other health problems like depression, high blood pressure, even heart attacks.

The best medical advice, try to keep cool under pressure.