Foosball Tables and
the American Military
Foosball tables are a familiar sight today.
The game is often the center of attention at summer
camps, school game rooms, and other places where people gather to have fun.
What many people don’t know is that foosball
tables have also had a much more serious duty, helping our wounded
soldiers. It sounds strange, but the familiar barroom game got its start
shortly after World War II, helping wounded soldiers recover from injuries.
Foosball was invented in
in the late 1800’s as a way to bring the excitement of soccer to an indoor
environment. First popularized in
foosball tables began to make their way onto military bases as a pastime for
immobilized soldiers. Innovative nurses soon discovered that playing around on a foosball table helped to improve eye hand coordination and even balance. Which gave a variety to the largely sit down card games like blackjack
which where popular amongst soldiers who gambled with their
cigarettes rations. Early foosball tables especially took
considerable dexterity to operate, since they were often home-made and not as
accurate for shooting as modern versions.
game caught on quickly, and foosball
tables soon turned up in military hospitals across the European theatre.
After the war, foosball tables came home with the returning
ey’ve been a fixture in
military hospitals ever since. Even today, in this era of high-tech medical
devices, foosball tables are still a common sight in many military hospitals in
, recovering soldiers use
foosball tables to gain proficiency with new prosthetics, and to sharpen their
fine motor skills. Of course, the game has gained popularity outside of the
military too, with some brands like Tornado
foosball tables even sponsoring high-stakes tournaments with big prize
Foosball tables may never be as important to the military as
body armor or ammunition. And most people will continue to think of foosball as
a bar-room game. But next time you see a dusty foosball table in the corner of
your local bar, take a moment to salute the humble foosball table and its
honored history in our armed forces.