Some fans who braved Kansas City Chiefs’ -4 degree AFC playoff game undergo amputations from frostbite

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The frigid temperatures during one of the coldest NFL games on record left some football fans in Kansas City with lasting trauma. 

Back in January, a polar vortex brought an arctic blast into the U.S. and caused temperatures to plummet to -4 degrees at kickoff for an evening AFC Wildcard matchup between the Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs at the roofless GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

HOW THE WEATHER CAN IMPACT FOOTBALL GAMES

During the 11-day extreme cold span, nearly 30 patients were treated for frostbite by doctors at the Grossman Burn Center, which is part of HCA Midwest Health, Kansas City's largest healthcare provider. In addition, several others were treated in their outpatient clinic.

"To date, 12 patients have undergone amputation(s) surgeries primarily impacting fingers and toes," Dr. Megan Garcia, the center's medical director, told FOX Weather. "Some of these patients attended the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Miami Dolphins game on Jan. 13."

WHY IS ARROWHEAD IN KANSAS CITY THE LOUDEST NFL STADIUM?

Hospital administration told FOX Weather that up to 70% of their frostbite patients may need amputations at some point while their injuries progress.

"Our specialized physicians and expert care team continue to treat and monitor patients’ healing to address long-term needs, and we expect more surgical procedures over the next two to four weeks as their injuries evolve," Garcia added. 

KELCE FAMILY ADVOCATES FOR NFL STADIUMS TO USE GRASS FIELDS AFTER TURF INJURY

Doctors warn that frostbite can occur on exposed skin within 30 minutes, and shorter if wind chills create an even lower temperature. Although frostbite can happen anywhere on the body, it typically affects exposed areas like the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers and toes.

"We are humbled and honored to care for these patients who have shown bravery, patience, compassion, strength, and love throughout their journeys," Garcia noted.

The wild-card game against the Dolphins and Chiefs wasn't the coldest ever played in NFL history. 

WHICH NFL TEAMS DO BEST IN THE COLD?

The game that took the No. 1 spot is the infamous "Ice Bowl" in 1967 between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys. The temperature fell to -13 degrees, with wind chill readings of -48 degrees.

This year, the Chiefs won against the Dolphins with a score of 26-7, and a month later clinched the Super Bowl LVIII championship on Feb. 11, after defeating the San Francisco 49ers.

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