The Mathlete in Football


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Q: Which footballer is 6 feet 3 inches tall and is a 308-pound offensive guard for the Baltimore Ravens of the NFL?

Q: Which footballer tweets ‘Happy Pi Day!’?

Q Which footballer wrote unabashedly, ‘…I love hitting people..’

A.: John Urschel

Followers of football might not know that he has completed 1o seasons and at the end of every season, his mother has had a conversation with him about leaving the sport. She is afraid. Afraid he will become a statistic in the world of brain injuries. After Chris Borland, quit saying he was concerned about brain injuries, at the age of 24, one wonders if Jean Urschel made a wise decision to stay. His mother also knows that he has another whole world waiting for him – the world of mathematics. To be fair he does straddle the words of mathematics and football, with great élan, because he loves both.

He feels a lot of kids who don’t like mathematics or those who feel they do not have a flair for mathematics, pick up and get comfortable with math as they play fantasy football and other mathematical games. He feels math helps in decision making and problem solving. In his own words –

One of the most important components of being an elite athlete is to be able to see something, take that information at an instant, and make a split second decision, and make sure it is the right decision. This is something that requires great intelligence and it requires fast twitch brain muscles. Not just fast twitch running jumping hitting. Fast twitch thinking, which mathematics trains.

A jock who loves mathematics – that is a rarity. May his wish to be a titled player come true. Good Luck!


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