Health and Medicine

You Have A Higher Chance Of Being Bitten By Uruguay’s Luis Suarez Than By A Shark

June 27, 2014 | by Lisa Winter

Photo credit: Jimmy Baikovicius via Wikimedia Commons

When Uruguay takes the pitch this weekend against Colombia in the World Cup, they will do it without star forward Luis Suarez. Why? Because FIFA banned him for four months from so much as stepping foot inside a stadium for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini. On purpose. While playing soccer. Seriously. To make matters worse, this wasn’t even his first offense. This wasn’t even his second offense. This is seriously the third time that Suarez, who also plays for Liverpool, has bit an opponent during a match.

Ian Steadman from New Statesmen got curious about the sheer odds of the danger an opponent has of being bitten by Suarez, and how it compares, say, to the odds of getting bitten by a shark. 

Since 2005, Suarez has played in 441 senior matches for Uruguay’s national team and various clubs. Assuming 11 starting players and 3 substitutions per game, 6,160 players have gone up against Suarez and have been at risk of getting bit. That puts the odds Suarez biting an opponent right around 1 in 2,000. The odds of getting killed by a shark while swimming in the ocean? 1 in 3.7 million

However, the numbers get a little closer if you consider the odds of getting bitten by a shark, even just nipped at. At New Smyrna Beach, Florida, regarded as the shark attack capital of the world, the odds of getting nibbled by a shark if the 22,464 residents go swimming just once per year are 1 in 2,808 on a slow year or 1 in 800 during a record year. Overall, it averages out about 1 in 2,000, just like Suarez. Realistically, the odds may be lower as many people likely go swimming more than once per year.

Even still, the odds of getting bitten by Suarez during a match are still higher than being struck by lightning (1 in 10,000), getting in an plane crash (1 in 11 million), or getting murdered in the Americas (1 in 6,100). However, Suarez isn’t nearly as dangerous as Mike Tyson. The odds of getting bit during a boxing match against Iron Mike is 1 in 50.

[Hat tip: Ian Steadman, New Statesman]