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Just what is in that ‘magic spray’ trainers use at the World Cup?

A trainer applies a chilling spray on the back of Nigeria's Ogenyi Onazi's leg during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between France and Nigeria at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, June 30, 2014.
A trainer applies a chilling spray on the back of Nigeria's Ogenyi Onazi's leg during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between France and Nigeria at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, June 30, 2014. The Associated Press

There is a good chance fans will see what seems to be a miracle at one of the two World Cup games this weekend.

A player will go down what appears to be a significant injury, a trainer will run on the field, determine the body part that is afflicted and pull out The Can of Magic Spray.

This magic spray has been around for decades and appears to have incredible restorative abilities. Either that or the player’s injury isn’t as serious as it appears.

But what is actually in the magic spray?

Daniel Engber, writing in Slate, said it could be a number of things.

“(Trainers) might use cold water, for example, to cool off an overheated athlete,” Engber wrote. “Or they might spray an abrasion with a tincture of benzoin so they can stick a bandage on some sweaty skin. It’s safe to assume that some magic spray cans contain ‘skin refrigerants,’ chemicals like ethyl chloride that freeze and numb the surface of the skin on contact.”

How would the cold help?

A trainer in England named Paul Gough wrote about the magic sponge, a cousin to the magic spray, for The Northern Echo and explained how these medical marvels work with regard to cooling the skin.

“The cold water often does little other than, for a very limited period of time, reduce the blood supply to the injured area to prevent swelling,” Gough wrote.

“It was probably invented to buy players a bit of time, a way to almost justify spending a few extra seconds on the ground to allow the pain to pass before they could get back on their feet and resume their game.”

The magic sprays are sold in the United States, so weekend warriors are in luck.

Engber wrote that the spray can work as a placebo, which should be no surprise to soccer fans.

“The cold spray’s proponents say it can have positive psychological effects, and that it is most effective for injuries that cause a lot of pain over a short period of time, like a badly stubbed toe,” he wrote.

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