The Oakland Raiders and Houston Texans are played Monday Night Football’s matchup in Mexico City, and some people are worried about the health of the players due to pollution and high altitude.
Azteca Stadium is 7,280 feet above sea level, which is 2,000 feet higher than the NFL’s most-elevated stadium. Denver’s Mile High Stadium sits at 5,280 feet above sea level, and players might need oxygen masks during the game due to the altitude.
However, former U.S. national soccer player Eric Wynalda told USA Today the air quality could impact the health of players as well.
“Azteca Stadium is the worst place to ever play a sporting event,” Wynalda said. “You can’t breathe. The pollution is so bad that if you don’t have some form of rain that’s brought all that down you are going to be sucking wind. They (will) break a record for how many oxygen masks they have on the sidelines. The combination of being that high up with pollution is just devastating to the body.”
Respiration doctor Jorge Avendano Reyes also told USA Today the players could have difficulty with the air quality during the game.
“There can be headaches, dizziness, sensation of fatigue, accelerated heartbeat, hyperventilation,” Reyes said. “We can also have respiratory symptoms when we are exposed often to the pollution. The amount of oxygen that reaches the cells decreases, leading to the faster heartbeat and cardiac activity. The body tries to ventilate more quickly.”
Wynalda thinks it’s likely both teams will have more penalties tonight due to the air quality.
“For American football, I really am curious to see how these guys handle it. It is going to have a massive effect on their body. These are some big bodies out there, 300 pounds people who are trying to get oxygen into their muscles and to their brains. I think you will see a lot of delay-of-game penalties.”
With the Raiders win, they tied the New England Patriots for first in the AFC.
(h/t Fox Sports)