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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Health Minister Named as Haiti's New Interim Prime Minister

Announcement is part of effort to resolve a mounting political crisis over long-delayed elections
More

Kerry: US-Cuba Thaw Will Advance Interests for Both

Secretary of state says 11 million people of Cuba have waited far too long - more than half a century - to 'fulfill their democratic aspirations' and build closer ties with rest of world
More

Cuba's Famed Cigars Get a Foot in Door of US Market

Under new rules to be implemented soon, US will make it easier for some Americans to travel to Cuba and they will be able to return with $100 worth of alcohol, tobacco
More

Tourism, Farm Groups See Bigger Business With Cuba

'We are the closest major food producer that Cuba has,' an American Farm Bureau Federation spokesman notes
More

Castro Lauds US Outreach, Says Cuba to Remain Communist

In speech to lawmakers, Cuba's president says economic reforms will be accelerated, yet changes will be gradual
More

Raul Castro Steps Out of Brother's Shadow With US Deal

Cuban president scores diplomatic triumph, surge in support with this week's deal that ends decades of hostility with United States
More