A new product developed by self confessed “soccer player, soccer coach and soccer mom” Majken Gilmartin aims to revolutionize the women’s game by reducing the number of injuries and allowing for a faster, safer game.
Currently women footballers incur up to six times as many injuries as men, a number of which can be directly correlated to the traditional size five football introduced for both boys and girls at the age of 12-15 and used thereafter.
Sensational Football founder Gilmartin hopes that her Sensational 1 football will help to eradicate these problems as well as improve women’s football as a spectacle.
Studies conducted by sports scientists in Denmark, Germany and Sweden have shown that the size five ball is struck too close to the ankle on the average woman which increases the pressure on the knee and slows the game as a whole.
Gilmartin says that the standard ball is simply too heavy for most women and leads to them tiring quicker in the game, this she says increases the likelihood of injuries and makes for a poorer sporting spectacle.
Currently, women must use more strength throughout the match just to keep the ball moving meaning that not as much energy is used for judgement and the game is much slower than if they were using an adapted ball..
Pointing to the lighter equipment used in other sports such as basketball, European handball, javelin and hammer throw, Gilmartin says that the standard 410-450g/68-70cm in circumference ball is placing unnecessary demands on the bodies of women footballers.
The Sensational 1 football at 360g/67cm in circumference, slightly larger than a size four used by 8-12 year olds, she says will produce a faster, safer game.
Currently FIFA regulations require a standard size 5 football to be used in all competitions from under-17 for both men and women.
But with an ever-growing body of evidence and support from the Danish Football Association, Gilmartin hopes that FIFA will adapt its rules and allow women’s football to follow the recent emergence of interest in women’s basketball and handball.
Both sports have enjoyed an increased popularity across the continent since their governing authorities reduced the size of the balls and the sports became quicker and more free-flowing.
Gilmartin says that in sport, it is not be a matter of equal rights and regulations for men and women but of “equal opportunity to give girls the best chance to play a good game of football.”
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