With speed-eating can come some hurdles, such as the obvious culprits: choking and nausea. In addition to immediate stomach pains, there are long-term side effects. A Journal of Roentgenology study in 2007 compared a competitive eater with a non-competitive eater. The study revealed that competitive eaters are able to defeat the satiety reflex, in other words, what makes you feel full. Overcoming that reflex can overstretch your stomach forever and lead to a slew of health concerns down the road.
It’s no surprise that competitive eating can be dangerous, which explains why all Major League Eating (MLE) events must have emergency medical technicians within reach, MLE confirms. This may have been prompted by Hurt’s dramatic moment in 1991 when he suffered a stroke after speed-eating 38 soft-boiled eggs in just 29 seconds (via Slate). Hurst recovered yet carried on competing for another four years.
Onlookers were in awe of Hurst’s skills. Following a fundraiser for his campaign, Rufus Edmisten told The News & Observer, “Mort is unique from head to toe. Between the head and toe, he must be hollow.” Hurst’s stamina carried him through his competitive eating career until his systolic blood-pressure caught up with him and he begrudgingly retired.