Well, we’ve always known that professional footballers can kick a ball and that they earn loads of dosh but exciting scientific evidence from Canada demonstrates that professional footballers, and other elite athletes, are not as stupid as they look. Professor Jocelyn Faubert from the University of Montreal tested a number of professional athletes, including footballers from Britain’s Premier League, some American hockey players and, well you’d expect them to be bright, members of various French rugby teams as well as some amateur athletes and a group of students. “Study participants were asked to describe a series of simulated objects moving through three dimensions,” he said. “Although the context had nothing to do with any specific sport, we found that professional athletes were able to process the visual scenes much better than amateur athletes who were in turn better than the students.” His conclusion was that top professional footballers have better developed cognitive functions than the average undergraduate because they are better able to “hyper-focus.” ‘It would appear that athletes are able to hyper-focus their attention to enhance learning, which is key to their abilities,’ he added.
It might just be that talented sportmen get up in the morning and practice their skills every day when their undergraduate contemporaries are still lying around in bed skipping lectures. Just a thought. Maybe universities should start a regime of early morning football practice for all undergraduates. “Come on you ‘orrible little people! Put the books away and kick that ball to the back of the net! “