When one thinks of dangerous ball sports, they might conjure images of intense tackles on the football pitch or high-speed collisions on the rugby field. However, there is a sport that makes these seem tame by comparison - Calcio Storico, an ancient Italian game that combines elements of soccer, rugby, and wrestling, making it arguably the most dangerous ball sport in the world.
Calcio Storico, which translates to "historic football," has its roots in Florence, Italy, dating back to the 16th century. Played on a sand-covered field, the game is more of a brutal spectacle than a mere sport. Two teams, each comprising 27 players, compete to get a ball into the opposing team's goal, but the rules are loose, and the action is ferocious.
What sets Calcio Storico apart from other sports is the extreme physicality. Players are allowed to punch, kick, and even choke their opponents in their quest to gain possession of the ball. There are virtually no rules, and the matches often descend into chaotic brawls. Broken bones, concussions, and severe injuries are common occurrences in Calcio Storico games.
The attire of the players is also unique. They wear historic costumes that resemble 16th-century attire, adding a surreal touch to the brutal spectacle. The combination of ancient tradition and intense physicality has kept this sport alive for centuries
Injuries are not the only danger players face; the sheer exhaustion from the intense physicality can be overwhelming. Players must endure grueling training regimens to prepare for the matches, including strength and endurance training, as well as combat skills practice.
Calcio Storico may not be as globally popular as soccer or rugby, but its level of danger and brutality is unparalleled in the world of ball sports. This historic game demands not only physical strength but also an unyielding spirit and a willingness to face extreme risks for the love of the sport. It's a sport that keeps its ancient traditions alive, even if it means pushing the boundaries of safety to do so.