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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Colorful Macaws Bring Beauty to Chaotic Caracas

Long-tailed birds color Venezuelan capital's sky, giving its 5 million residents a moment of quiet respite from noise and crime
More

Colombia's ELN Rebels: Peace Talks Near, Rule Out Jail

Commander's comments come as pressure mounts for President Santos to conclude peace talks with far larger FARC group and to show progress with ELN
More

Photogallery Chile Volcano Still Puffing; Flights Canceled in Argentina

Calbuco, which erupted Wednesday without warning, continues to spew ash, smoke
More

Former Spy Master Flees Argentina Amid Threats

Antonio Stiuso contends government is trying to sully his reputation following death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman
More

Chile, Argentina Cancel Flights as Volcanic Ash Cloud Spreads

Argentina's meteorology service forecast ash cloud could reach La Pampa; more than 4,000 people have been evacuated from immediate area
More

Deals Extend Russia's Energy Cooperation With Argentina

Accords underscore Moscow's effort to enhance South American ties since coming under Western sanctions over Ukraine crisis
More