Emergency cases double at Hanoi hospitals as football fever takes grip

By Nam Phuong   January 29, 2018 | 01:13 am PT
Emergency cases double at Hanoi hospitals as football fever takes grip
Cars and motorbikes bring flags to a major street of Saigon as Vietnam defeats Qatar at the semifinal of AFC U23 Championship on January 23. Photo by VnExpress
Delirious fans were caught up in road accidents as they tried to celebrate their team's success.

Hospitals in Hanoi reported more than twice the usual number of emergency cases over the weekend as football fever swept the city.

Vietnam made history by finishing as the runner-up at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U23 Championship on Saturday. They lost 2-1 to Uzbekistan but still managed to go further at the tournament than any other Southeast Asian team in history, sending the entire country into euphoria.

But the outpouring of emotion ended in tears in some cases.

Hanoi's Health Department said that dozens of football fans were hospitalized with injuries on Saturday and Sunday.

The 115 Emergency Center in Hanoi said it received 120 percent more emergency cases on Sunday, when the city welcomed the Vietnamese team back from China with a parade running over 30 kilometers from Noi Bai Airport.

AFP described the reception as a “rock-star welcome”.

Nguyen Thanh, director of the center, said one young man had fallen from the roof of a car while cheering for the team.

After the game on Saturday, one man wearing a Vietnam shirt was admitted with a broken hip and head injuries, prompting doctors to search for his family via Facebook.

Vietnamese football fans have been walking on air over the past two weeks in the wake of their team's success at the tournament.

The young underdogs overcame Australia 1-0 in the group stage, and then went on to defeat Iraq in the quarterfinals.

On January 23, after the team beat Qatar in the semifinals, the 115 Center admitted around 140 patients, up 150 percent compared to normal days.

Most of them were caught up in road accidents as fans stormed the streets.

In the northern city of Hai Phong, a 28-year-old man was killed that same night when his flag was caught in the container of a truck, pulling him off his motorbike, local media reported.

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