Danish scientists have discovered that football can dramatically improve the health of socially disadvantaged groups including the homeless, the BBC reports.
About 20 percent of Denmark’s 5,000 homeless take part in the initiative organised by Thomas Hye, who argues that there is a psychological benefit to it as it provides them with a determination to change their lives.
Additionally, he told the BBC that by playing football “they learnt to cope with things” and that it helps many involved “get off drugs because of the adrenaline in the body”.
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Marco Glentvor, who has since found work at a Copenhagen church, told the BBC that without football he “would either be dead or half-dead” and that it stopped him from taking drugs.
Scientists at Copenhagen University monitored the 39-year-old’s physical condition, and in just 12 weeks, he had reduced his bad cholesterol by 19 percent and reduced his risk of heart disease by 50 percent.
Marco told the BBC that the project “opened some doors” for him and that he “just want[s] to live”.
It is also believed that the sport is helping many channel their aggression into the game, rather than taking it out on themselves or others.
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It is hoped that many homeless people will find motivation to help themselves and change their lives through this project, and that other areas of the country will take up similar projects.
However, 20 percent of all homeless people who join the league drop out after a short while, but with an 80 percent success rate, it appears the beautiful game of football is saving lives.