News / Americas

    How Effective are Those Fake World Cup Injuries?

    People use mobile devices to take pictures of an advertising placard showing Uruguay's striker Luis Suarez flashing his teeth, Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro, June 26, 2014.
    People use mobile devices to take pictures of an advertising placard showing Uruguay's striker Luis Suarez flashing his teeth, Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro, June 26, 2014.
    Adam Phillips

    Anyone watching soccer's World Cup is familiar with the head-knocking, pushing, elbowing and even biting that occurs on the field — and how players on the receiving end of those maneuvers sometimes react in dramatic, seemingly exaggerated ways.

    But do those histrionics, real or faked, actually help teams to win?

    While faking injury may help a player draw a penalty on the opposing team, Dr. Daryl Rosenbaum, a sports physician at North Carolina's Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, decided to evaluate whether embellished distress is an effective competitive strategy.

    “We basically sat down, watched a lot of soccer, and looked for events where it looked like someone was injured when they went down to the ground holding a body part," he said. "We didn’t have any access to the medical records or anything, but we’d try to decide if it was a definite injury or not, if the player had to be ‘subbed off’ within a few minutes, or if there was something really obvious like visible bleeding.

    "Only about 7 percent turned out to be true injuries, and we didn’t find that the teams were any more successful that exhibited this type of behavior.”

    Still, feigning injury can be a useful dilatory tactic in a tough game, according to sports psychologist Harris Stratyner of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.     

    “It’s not to say you can’t get hurt in soccer. But I think it’s more of a strategy among European players that they may even be coached to milk the time and ... buy their teammates time for a breather," he said. "It’s like a boxer who may hug his opponent to buy some breathing time or goes down on a punch and waits until just before the count of 10 to get up so they can have some breathing time.”

    Players also use dramatic gestures to get a point across, he said.  

    “Psychologically speaking, if you are more demonstrative, you are going to get the referees’ attention, and there is going to be a greater chance to have the opposing team receive a penalty.

    In Stratyner’s opinion, U.S. players tend to underplay injuries as compared to European or Central and South Americans.

    U.S. sports culture tends to value stoicism in the face of challenges, he said, which can prove a liability. Playing while injured can make an injury worse, for example, and making one’s injury “no big deal” can mean fewer penalties for the opposing team.

    Yet Stratyner acknowledges that there are cultures within the U.S. where drama is encouraged.   

    “I’ll pick on my culture," he said. "I’m Jewish and my mother also had some Italian in her, and I will tell you that there were lots of dramatics. That’s not a bad thing. That’s not a criticism. It’s just how you’re raised. If these teams are using that to their advantage, that’s how they’re being trained.” 

    Questions of training, strategy and display may be debated by fans during those non-game hours, but even experts have put the finer points aside at this stage of the World Cup.

    Rosenbaum, an avid fan, says he welcomes the drama because he loves the game, and that it's "all a part of the story.”

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    More Americas News

    Brazilian Drug Lord Found Serving Time in Paraguay Prison ‘VIP’ Suite

    Raided by authorities, three-room ‘cell’ was found to have library, kitchen, conference room and even a plasma television

    Uruguay Formally Ends its Presidency of Mercosur Trade Bloc

    Ministry statement said there are no legal arguments for blocking transfer of presidency to Venezuela, it stopped short of announcing that Venezuela would now lead South American group

    Court: Brazil's Lula to Stand Trial for Obstruction of Justice

    Brazil's ex-president officially a defendant in sprawling corruption probe focused on state-run oil company Petrobras

    Australian Olympic Team Evacuated for Dorm Fire

    Small fire in basement of team living quarters caused no injuries; quality of Olympic housing for athletes sparks complaints

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    Cambodian-American Swimmer to Compete at Rio 2016

    Brown University student said he hopes to break his previous record for the men's 100-meter freestyle at Olympic Games