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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

Virtually Indestructible Soccer Balls – A Gift to Kids from Science and Kind Hearted People

Western Kenya, Ugenya District. One World Futbol is the game ball. (Photo: Tiba Foundation)

A good news story about science, children, soccer balls, and people with good hearts.

Tim Jahnigen saw footage of kids in Darfur playing soccer with pieces of trash tied up with string. He felt kids deserved better, and set out to find a way to make a more or less indestructible soccer ball that’s still a good soccer ball. With support from science and money from Sting, the ball was created.

The ball is made from "a type of hard foam made of ethylene-vinyl acetate, a class of material similar to that used in Crocs, the popular and durable sandals. … Mr. Jahnigen has developed a fifth generation of the ball, which is rounder than earlier versions. He carries samples around the world to conferences, potential buyers and sponsors. For effect, he crushes them and even drives cars over them. All of them bounce and hold their shape. By his estimate, the ball can last for 30 years, eliminating the need for thousands of hand-sewn leather balls that are typically donated by relief agencies."

Now, the soccer balls are available for donation and/or purchase through One World Futbol. The donation page is here. If you buy one, the group donates another ball somewhere in the world. Or, you can pick the recipient from among a few projects. The price for two 30 year soccer balls? $39.50.

Hat tip to Ken Belson and the NYT for telling the story, which is the source for the quote above.

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