There's electricity in the air at any athletic event. But a few athletes in San Diego, Philiadelphia, Toronto and Los Angeles would rather supply the energy themselves -- to each other, using stun guns.
It's all part of "Ultimate Tazer Ball," a new sport invented by three friends: Leif Kellenberger, Erik Wunsch and Eric Prumm, who wanted to make a game Kellenberger describes as more intriguing" than the usual sports.
Ultimate Tazer Ball -- called UTB for short -- pits two teams of four players each against each other. Each team tries to get a medicine ball into the opposing team's goal while tackling and attacking the other team's carrier.
It sounds like a variation of sports like rugby, soccer, hockey or football, but there is a big difference: Each player carries a stun gun and is allowed to electrically shock whichever opponent is carrying the ball.
Stun guns are designed to incapacitate people using electroshocks that disrupt muscle functions, and were intended to be used for defense purposes, not for sports.
Nevertheless, Kellenberger, a San Diego-based clothing retailer, said that just because no one intended them for sports doesn't mean they aren't good for them.
"The stun guns make this an exciting sport for everyone," Kellenberger told HuffPost Weird News. "[Using them] equalizes the game so a small, fast player can handle a bigger player."
Players can get stunned between 35 to 40 times a game, but Kellenberger contends that the stun guns used by UTB players have such "low-grade effects" that there are no long-term dangers.
"These give out between 3 to 5 milli-amps," he said. "It feels like a rubber band snap. It's shocking but will only make you twitch or drop the ball. And it works on the nervous system so no one will get immune to it, so we won't have to raise the level in the future to get the same effect."
Still, players are forbidden to aim the guns at the neck or the groin. Not that it helps that much, according to Kyle Hall, a journalist for Thrillist.com who volunteered himself as a guinea pig to demonstrate the effects of the stun gun for a video segment.
"It definitely is more intense than a rubber band snap," Hall said. "You're not flailing on the ground, but you are definitely doing what you can to get away."
The first official Ultimate Tazer Ball tournament was in January and there are currently four official professional UTB teams: the Philadelphia Killawatts, the San Diego Spartans, the Toronto Terror and the Los Angeles Nightlight.
Kellenberger said the teams play at tournaments for prizes, but he and his co-founders are in talks with various networks for a TV deal that could pay the players.
But while Kellenberger claims the stun guns used in his burgeoning league are safe, security experts like Philip Farina aren't so sure.
"I've had the unfortunate pleasure of having [a stun gun] applied to me during a training session and I think it's irresponsible to use them in a sporting fashion," Farina said.
The Department of Justice just might agree since it issued a report last year suggesting that police officers using stun guns should avoid shooting people with them multiple times or for prolonged periods to reduce the risk of potential injury or death, the St. Louis Tribune reported.
Kellenberger still insists the sport is safe for adults with good endurance and believes it's a great spectator sport.
But some observers, he admits, see other possibilities.
"We were practicing in front of some kids doing soccer and one of the dads was in awe," Kellenberger said. "He kept saying, 'That will teach you ball control.'"
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