The U.S. Men’s National Team may have broken some soccer fans’ hearts when they were knocked out of the World Cup on Tuesday, but one thing is certain: No one will ever forget the serious athletic chops of goalie Tim Howard.
Though the U.S. lost to Belgium 2-1, the differential could have been a LOT bigger if not for this man. The guy made a crazy amount of saves, blocking 16 shots on goal. That’s a new record for the most saves in a World Cup match. Howard became an Internet sensation, sparking his own hashtag (and photo meme) #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave. So far, that list includes the Titanic, dinosaurs, even Mufasa from The Lion King. Yeah, it’s kind of silly, but you can’t deny Howard is an athletic hero in his own right.
Now, the Science of Us is reporting those remarkable saving abilities could be helped, in part, by Howard’s Tourette’s syndrome. Tourette’s is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive movements or outbursts. Though you might think those involuntary movements, also called tics, might be a hindrance to athletic pursuits, two separate studies show people with Tourette’s actually have great timing and self-control—qualities essential for stopping goals. Head on over to Science of Us to read more about why researchers think that suppressing Tourette’s tics might help improve focus.
No matter what led to Howard’s amazing saves, we’re just glad he’s getting due credit—and we’re equally grateful for the hilarious meme creators.