Bend it like Beckham: Ed Fontes teaches us about the new World Cup ball #scienceofsport

ed fontes

Ed Fontes has posted a super cool blog post on COMSOL blog about the physics and engineering of the new 2014 FIFA World Cup ball. Definitely check out the article for in-depth analysis and really nice illustrations and figures!

The Beckham and Maradona curl obtained with the inside of the soccer cleat (football boot), and the curl by Eder, Nelinho, and Roberto Carlos with the outside of the cleat, is due to the Magnus effect. The effect is named after the scientist who first observed it in a laboratory in the 1850s. The Magnus effect explains the side-force on a sphere that is both rotating and moving forward. Here, we use it to analyze the World Cup™ match ball.

Brain abnormalities in players that ‘head’ the ball #WorldCupReminder

 headerreal

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is a good time to remind people that any impact to your head, including headers in soccer, can cause brain changes and abnormalities. This 2013 study in Radiology, showed brain changes by MRI in players that head the ball more.

RESULTS:

Participants had headed 32-5400 times (median, 432 times) over the previous year. Heading was associated with lower FA at three locations in temporo-occipital white matter with a threshold that varied according to location (885-1550 headings per year) (P < .00001). Lower levels of FA were also associated with poorer memory scores (P < .00001), with a threshold of 1800 headings per year. Lifetime concussion history and demographic features were not significantly associated with either FA or cognitive performance.

CONCLUSION:

Heading is associated with abnormal white matter microstructure and with poorer neurocognitive performance. This relationship is not explained by a history of concussion.