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The Pain Formula

Mariano Rivera pitches the ball at 100 miles per hour.
Mariano Rivera
A baseball player gets hit by a pitch.
Sports Injuries

What would hurt more - being hit by a fastball from one of baseball's best pitchers, being nailed by a slapshot from a hockey superstar or being smoked by a tennis ball served up by Andy Roddick? Kidzworld looks for the anwers with the Pain Formula.

The Pain Formula - How Much Pain?

To figure out how much pain is caused by a baseball, tennis ball or hockey puck, the weight of each object is multiplied by the speed that it's travelling.

The Pain Formula - Fastball Pain

Let's start with a fastball from one of baseball's top pitchers, which flys over the plate at 100 miles per hour (160 kms). A baseball weighs about five ounces (142 grams).
  • 100 miles per hour x 5 ounces = 500 Units of Pain if you're not looking when the pitcher throws towards home plate. That's why batters wear batting helmets.
  • The Pain Formula - Slapshot Pain

    Dion Phaneuf of the Calgary Flames, who has the hardest shot in the NHL, slaps the puck towards a goalie at about 101 miles per hour (162 kms). A hockey puck weighs 6.1 ounces (173 grams.)
  • 101 miles per hour x 6.1 ounces = 616 Units of Pain. Now you know why goalies wear so much padding.
  • The Pain Formula - Tennis Serve Pain

    A serve from Andy Roddick flies across the tennis court at 150 miles per hour (240 kms). A tennis ball weighs 1.07 ounces (30.4 grams).
  • 150 miles per hour x 1.07 ounces = 160.5 Units of Pain.
  • The Pain Formula - Watch Out For The Slapshot
    Kidzworld's Pain Formula has figured out that getting nailed by a slapshot would produce the most pain. But there are a few factors that haven't been considered, such as where the ball or puck hits you, how much bounce each object has and the angle that the puck or ball hits you at. For example, it hurts a lot more when you get smoked in the groin than it does getting nailed in the shoulder. Objects that are squishy and bouncy have "more give" so they hurt less than an object that is rock hard. That's why the tennis ball hurts less than the baseball and why your parents might let you shoot your younger brother with a Nerf ball but won't let you pelt him with rocks.

  • If you've got a question about sports science or sports injuries, to Kidzworld.
  • Related Stories:

  • Human Growth Hormone
  • World's Most Dangerous Sports
  • Your Worst Sports Injuries
  • More Fitness and Exercise Info!
  • readers voted!

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    How Do You Deal With Pain?

    • Roll around on the ground and cry like a baby.
    • Call my mom.
    • Take a deep breath and act like it doesn't hurt.
    • Pain? I never feel pain.

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