Is It “Diving” or Vuvuzela Pain?

Vuvuzela_webIf you’ve been watching the World Cup of soccer, you’ll have observed many occasions in which players, although seemingly untouched, have dropped to the ground and writhed in pain for many minutes.

They’re “diving,” you might say! Perhaps, but I have a more likely explanation. It’s the vuvuzelas!

Vuvuzelas, a fixture in South African soccer, are plastic horns based on the traditional kudu horns used to call distant South African villagers to meetings.

David Flax, a South African physical educator, warned us about the vuvuzela on the PE Message Board back in December. Well, he was certainly correct!

Every World Cup soccer venue has multitudes of vuvuzela-blowers and the stadiums sound like they’re filled with hornets on amphetamines. When I say the sound is deafening, you can take that literally. David has since sent me a South African occupational hygiene flyer that shows the noise produced by vuvuzelas can exceed 131 decibels.

How loud is that? Fifteen minutes at 100 decibels can cause hearing damage. A piledriver operates at 110 decibels. The pain threshold is reached at 130 decibels. Vuvuzelas can hit 131.

In other words, everyone sitting in a World Cup Stadium, including the players, might be in constant ear-drum pain from the beginning of the pre-game to the end. My theory is that those players writhing on the ground up may simply be more sensitive to noise than their teammates.

Personally I’ve gotten used to the vuvuzela noise and appreciate the fact that it’s a traditional South African signal to assemble for a meeting. And what greater meeting is there than the World Cup of soccer. South Africa, by the way, has done a wonderful job of putting together this quadrennial spectacle.

And as for the players left writhing on the ground? Perhaps future soccer equipment should include shin pads and earmuffs.


Dick Moss, Editor,

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[tags]vuvuzela,vuvuzelas,soccer,football,World Cup Soccer,[/tags]

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