Is the inflation and weight of the soccer ball a safety issue? 11/15/2020


There is a remarkable difference between a soccer ball pumped up to FIFA’s maximum PSI (15.6) versus minimum (8.5), as you will clearly notice if you squeeze, bounce or head the balls. inflated side by side on each level. Why the range is so large remains a mystery to me, but a recent study by engineers at Purdue University suggests that it is worth further research into the effect of bullet pressure and bullet weight on head injuries.

“If the bullet has too much pressure, is too waterlogged, or both, it actually turns into a weapon.” Directing that ball is like directing a brick, ”said Eric Nauman, Purdue Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Basic Medical Sciences with a courtesy appointment in Biomedical Engineering.

The Purdue study (published in the journal PLOS A) cites other research on the frequency of concussions caused by direct the ball and “found that inflating the balls to pressures on the lower end of ranges imposed by football governing bodies such as the NCAA and FIFA could reduce the forces associated with potential head injuries by approximately 20%.”

FIFA rules state that the weight of a soccer ball should be no less than 14 ounces and no more than 16 ounces. The Purdue study suggests that wet balls can quickly exceed the weight limit and increase the risk of head injury. While ball speed “contributes the most to how hard a ball hits”, ball pressure and water absorption are easier to control.

The research included testing with size 4, 4.5 and 5 bullets.

“It was a very simple experience,” Nauman said. “But there just hasn’t been a lot of data on these issues, and it’s a huge issue.” The next step would be a replication of the experiment outside the laboratory.

The study focused on PSI under FIFA regulations, but one wonders how often youth football is played with balls inflated above the maximum.

Have you ever seen a young referee measure the PSI of balls?

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