Why do foot­ball play­ers spit so much?

Focus-Science and Technology - - Q&A -

Sev­eral stud­ies have shown that ex­er­cise in­creases the amount of pro­tein se­creted into the saliva, es­pe­cially a kind of mu­cus called MUC5B. This mu­cus makes the saliva thicker, which makes it harder to swal­low, so we spit it out. It isn’t clear why we pro­duce more MUC5B when ex­er­cis­ing, but it may be be­cause we breathe through our mouth more, so the mu­cus stops the mouth from dry­ing out. Some sports, such as bas­ket­ball and ten­nis, pe­nalise play­ers for spitting, but foot­ball and rugby don’t, so the play­ers are free to ex­pec­to­rate!

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