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The Incidence of Injury on Turf vs. Grass Field

It seems that in the world of soccer, more and more facilities are putting field turf in and moving away from a natural grass playing surface. How is this impacting injury rates?

In a prospective study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine performed in 2013, the authors looked at injury rates in collegiate women soccer players during games (not practices) over the span of 5 years on field turf surfaces versus natural grass surfaces. Out of all of the injuries documented, over 60% of them happened on a natural grass surface while almost 40% of them occurred on field turf. In addition to the lower rate of injury, results also indicated significantly less trauma/loss of playing time due to injury on field turf versus natural grass. Things to consider with this study include type of footwear, training schedules for individual teams, game analysis versus practice, and weather/climate at the time of injury. See the link below for the full abstract of this study.

Another study published in 2014 in the American Journal of Sports Medicine looked at the risk of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries on synthetic playing surfaces (field turf) versus natural grass. The authors reviewed 10 different studies that have investigated the incidence of ACL injuries in football and soccer on turf versus grass surfaces. They concluded from their review that there was an increased rate of ACL injury on turf surfaces in football players but there was no increased risk in soccer. See the link below for the full abstract of this study.

If you have any questions regarding injury prevention/reduction strategies, feel free to contact Omaha Physical Therapy Institute (OPTI) at (402)934-8688! OPTI is an outpatient orthopedic and sports physical therapy clinic with two locations with the main clinic located at 144th & Dodge and the A.I.M. clinic located inside of the Omaha Sports Complex on 144th & Giles.

Katie Cordery, PT

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