Complicating the prospects of the Pittsburgh Steelers winning the AFC championship game against the New England Patriots is the fact that 15 of the team’s players have come down with the stomach flu. Six of the players did not suit up for practice as a result. Head Coach Mike Tomlin expressed confidence that this plague will not impede his team’s prospects of winning the big game and thus advancing to the Super Bowl.

Even so, the stomach flu is not joke nor is having 15 Steelers players down with the disease in advance of the most important game of the post-season thus far.

Stomach flu attacks the intestines, causing diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, a low-grade fever, and the occasional muscle ache and headache.

That 15 players (so far) have come down with the disease is a great concern. That fact suggests that a virus is going around the Steelers’ training facility. Another possible cause is that the football players have eaten contaminated food, such as shellfish. Dehydration is a common complication of the stomach flu, a dangerous condition for an athlete in a strenuous sport such as professional football.

No cure exists for the stomach flu. Treatment consists of rest and avoiding eating a lot of food until the disease runs its course, a great inconvenience for a professional athlete.

Very likely no one who is still dealing with the stomach flu is going to be advised to try to play.

The stomach flu plague could not have come at a worse time for the Steelers. The team, while no slouches where it comes to post-season play, is facing a formidable, powerhouse team in the New England Patriots. Having so many players down is not going to contribute to the prospect of winning.

On the other hand, the Steelers’ offensive line is said to be intact and functioning at peak efficiency. The team is going to need their offense to perform above and beyond if it hopes to win the AFC championship game. In the meantime, the defensive line has to find a way to hold the New England offensive from scoring too many touchdowns. Otherwise, the Steelers will not be going to the Super Bowl this year.