By Hamish Johnston
If you are in the US you are probably looking forward to two things this Thanksgiving Day: turkey and football.
And from the safety of your couch, you might just wonder about the forces involved in a big hit out on the field.
In the video above, you can watch physicist Dan Dahlberg calculating that a particularly hard tackle can accelerate a player at 10 G.
To put that into perspective, heavy braking of a top range sports car will deliver about 1 G and if you drive that car into a brick wall at 30 MPH you would experience 40–50 G.
The player in question is the University of Minnesota’s Eric Decker who was launched into the end zone by an opposing player, but managed to hold on to the ball to score a touchdown.
Although slightly shaken, Decker was back in the game, which was played earlier this year.
Dahlberg – who is normally found in his spintronics lab at the University of Minnesota – is not the first to work out that football players are subject to massive accelerations.
Last month the New Yorker ran an article by Malcolm Gladwell about the potential harm that such hits can cause to the brains of players.