The Emergent Bubble Ball Craze and Emerging Issues

It’s not likely to show up in the next Olympic category, but the bubble ball football is capturing the imagination of an entire new generation of sports savvy and average fun-loving individuals and for a good reason.  Since soccer itself has gained global popularity in recent years, the bubble ball variant has just added another dimension and appeal to the game.

The Bubble Ball History

The central element of the bubble ball zorb ball, a ball made up of transparent plastic or technically, tangled cellulose cotton, viscose and poly micro fiber which serves as cloth pads which allows a person to be placed inside safely. In its first early public releases, the zorb ball was primarily used for rolling in slightly steep surfaces as some sort of extreme game. A few years later, around 2011, after proving the safety of the material and the activity, the zorb bubble ball found applications in an also emerging popular sport of the era—football.

As it has now come to be known, zorb or bubble ball football or soccer was first played as an experimental game in Norway in 2012 which basically used the rules and objective of a soccer or football game but had players wrapped inside a bubble ball. It was aired in YouTube simply as a show. For some reason however, it quickly swept Europe and Asia and created a new frenzy. By 2014, the new sport, bubble ball football, had evolved into various versions such as bubble bump soccer, and into a common past time in Japan, China and Taiwan.

The innovative game which involves the use of ‘inflatable space balls’, gained such widespread acceptance  in just four years such by 2015, it already had a national association and has established a governing body,  the Bubble Ball Association which has set rules, standards of safety and sanctioned tournaments in many countries including international events. In barely a few years, it has reached a status almost similar to most professional games.


A Bursting Bubble? Current Issues of the Bubble Ball

The appeal of the game is easy enough to see and even understand. Between soccer and extreme games, there is simply a new thrill offered by any bubble ball gameThe rules are also simple enough to be played and understood by people with minimal training or limited familiarity with the sport. Even individuals who are not sports-inclined or oriented can play the game.

One of the main issue with regards to the sports however is safety. Since the zorb or bubble ball is also a recently new technology, it has not yet cleared many apprehensions that it may not be safe enough to protect participants and may in fact increase the risk. As some scientists point out, the a person wrapped up in bubble ball is likely to lose balance and while his upper body is covered by the warp, his legs and feet are still vulnerable to twisting and injuries which is made more potentially dangerous due to additional weight of the ball.

Even then, there are no conclusive scientific tests on the limits of the ball to absorb or withstand impact. The presence of sharp objects, which is a common threat even among harder rubber insulations or protections, is claimed to be a consistent problem when using a much softer material like the bubble ball that there remains strong reservations against the over-all strength of the material and the sport itself.


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