New Study Shows Artificial Grass Pitches Result in Fewer Injuries

Synthetic football pitchNew research, published recently in the American Journal of Sports Medicine concluded that artificial sports surfaces result in less injuries than natural grass, supporting previous studies.

The report titled ‘Incidence, Mechanisms, and Severity of Match-Related Collegiate Women’s Soccer Injuries on FieldTurf and Natural Grass Surfaces: A 5-Year Prospective Study,’ documented injury data from over 800 matches.  There were a total of 693 minor and serious injuries, over 5 years.  Of these, 272 (39%) occurred during play on an artificial pitch, and 421 (61%) on occurred on natural grass.

So, for every 10 matches played, 7.7 injuries happened on synthetic turf pitches, and 9.5 injuries were recorded on real grass.

The data also suggests that injuries on natural grass are more severe than those on artificial surfaces.  There were 130 substantial injuries (that required players to take 1-3 weeks off).  These were twice as common on natural grass.

The research was extremely comprehensive.  Many variables were taken into account to reach the conclusion including player position, injury grade field conditions and temperatures, cleat design and turf age.  Despite this, experts believe it’s only one part of the puzzle.  In women’s college soccer, on this particular surface, the evidence is irrefutable, but this doesn’t mean we should make general assumptions.

A similar study in 2006, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, analysed data from 10 men’s football clubs.  ‘The risk for injury when playing elite football on artificial turf versus natural grass,’ presented training and match injury data over a 2.5 year period.  They concluded that there was no significant difference, although incidents were slightly less for play on artificial turf.  The training average (per 100 hours) was 2.42 vs 2.94 injuries for turf and natural grass.  Match averages were 19.60 vs 21.48.

 

 

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