By Michelle Schmidt
The 2013 football season saw a dramatic rise in incidence of Seahawk Fever — also known as 12th Man Syndrome (or TMS). The disease has reached near epidemic levels with most individuals in the Northwest manifesting symptoms or knowing someone who does.
Symptoms and Diagnosis:
Those suffering from Seahawk Fever experience a variety of symptoms, many of which are not perceived as abnormal by the infected individual. In these cases, it may be necessary for a family member or friend to point out symptoms and bring awareness of the disease.
Symptoms of Seahawk Fever include, but are not limited to:
— Increased blood pressure during Seahawk football games.
— Mild to severe depression during the fall and winter months since 1976, particularly between 1984 and 2005.
— Use of “Go Hawks” to begin or end conversations.
— Excessive shouting — either cheering or criticism — during games.
— Regular wearing of a blue jersey with the No. 12 on the back of it.
–When live game viewing is not possible, compulsive score checking; or, conversely, active score update avoidance if later game viewing is planned.
— Face turns green and/or blue during games.
— Schedules are planned weeks in advance to accommodate game days and times.
— Consuming copious amounts of Skittles.
— Children/pets have names like Russell and Marshawn.
–The words “Super Bowl XL” or “Steelers” incite rage.
— Aversion to red and gold, the Golden Gate Bridge, anything related to prospectors who came to Northern California during the mid-1800s.
— Practicing superstitious habits prior to games (flying large 12th Man flags outside your home, consuming Starbucks coffee, using Microsoft products, etc.)
Causes and Transmission:
Although there is no known cause of the disease, it primarily effects people who live, or grew up, in the Pacific Northwest. The infected population reports an increase in symptoms during the rare seasons when the Seahawks have a winning record.
While Seahawk Fever effects those around the infected individual, the disease is rarely passed on from adult to adult or child to child. Hereditary patterns of infection have been observed; early ongoing exposure to an adult with Seahawk Fever increase incidence of the child contracting the disease later in life.
Once infected, an individual will typically carry the disease for life, though it will often lie dormant for varying periods of time with few to no symptoms.
There is currently no FDA-approved medication for the treatment of Seahawk Fever, though the disease is rarely fatal. Seahawk Fever tends to resolve on its own by early to mid-February, or earlier, according to past trends. While there is no known cure for the disease, those suffering from it can take measures to reduce discomfort:
— Make sure your game-viewing environment is comfortable and well-stocked prior to the game with necessities like beverages and snacks; consuming a beverage with a sedative effect can decrease stress levels.
— Remove any items that could result in damage if thrown after watching poorly executed plays or incorrect calls by officials.
–Talking to a therapist can help handling emotions and stress; in cases where one spouse has the disease and the other does not, therapy may be helpful for both parties.
–Some report a reduction in symptoms after watching clips from a Seattle Mariners game.
–Meditate and talk positively about winning; after all, that’s what the Seahawks do before games now too.
Schmidt can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (208) 305-4578.