Football: blocked kicks & broken fingers

Something I’ve wondered for years: how is it possible for players of [American] football to reach up and block a kick – often just managing to get their fingers (and sometimes just fingertips), and not the palm of the hand, on the ball – without suffering a broken finger or two? It just seems that the momentum of the ball is so much mightier than what a guy’s outstretched fingers could withstand – especially when those fingers are already outstretched and straight; it seems that that’s a particularly vulnerable posture for them; that there’s not much to prevent a finger from being bent too far back… :eek:

Any [ex-?] football players care to clarify this? Thanks!

Well, fingers are fairly flexible. And at that, the ball would have to force the fingers back to such an extent to cause damage. Which seems to me to be over ninety degrees…or so (I can bend my fingers/wrists back about 90). So a ball headed toward the uprights at, say 45 degress, would only bend your fingers back 45 degrees.

Well, my wrists bend back about 45 degrees, but the fingers, much less. My pinky fingers move the farthest; index and middle, the least.

Don’t those blockers sometimes wear gloves? That’s gotta help.

A thrown ball has much more velocity, and the hardest point of the ball is zipping into your finger tips like a rotating bullet when it’s thrown.

Just doesn’t have alot of zip on it to be a real threat, be it thrown or kicked.

If the whole of the finger can be used from a frontal impact, your ok, as the finger bends at the base. A low velocity basketball landing on your fingers from the top, forcing just the tops down is very very painful and results in more breaks (confirmed by my buddy at the Airforce Academy working in the Athletic dpet)

In Tim Green’s book The Dark Side of the Game, he says that NFL players continually beat themselves up. They live in pain most of the time. He says the way to shake hands with an NFL player is very gently, as if you were holding a scared bird.

I’m no Einstein…but this doesn’t make sense to me.

You would think that the initial velocity of the ball coming off the foot would be more than the initial velocity of the ball being thrown.

The kick velocity gets an advantage because it gets to use the energy of the impact and the compression of the surface of the ball…while the throw, just uses the arm speed.

Any Physics majors out there?

I couldn’t find anything telling with a Google search.

I’ll check in here.I ** dislocated ** a finger (pinkie) fielding a kickoff.Have no reason to believe others haven’t had similar injuries while attempting to field a ball/block a kick.

Also had the basketball pass hit thumb headon ( break).In both instances it was because I took my eyes off the ball last second or so to observe the playing field in front of me for my next move.

If you ever meet an old time baseball catcher check their mitts out.Any pro sport athlete has to have those hands injured at one time or another.The more you’re exposed to that ball in flight in your sports position,the worse it usually is.

From my experience watching football games, very few players who block field goals do so with bare hands with their hands outstretched. Nearly all of these guys have their hands taped or have gloves on.

More kicks are blocked by arms and stomachs.