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Women's Collegiate Soccer Study Concludes Less Severe and Total Injuries on FieldTurf Compared to Natural Grass

5-year data builds on similar studies of College and High School Football injuries along with Penn State University study on traction.

MONTREAL, CANADA (September 3, 2013) – A 5-year research paper was published earlier this month concluding that women’s college soccer games played on FieldTurf synthetic turf playing surfaces resulted in statistically less injuries and less severe injuries than those played on natural grass.

The peer-reviewed study was published online in the August 2013 edition of the American Journal of Sports Medicine. The study is entitled “Incidence, Mechanisms, and Severity of Match-Related Collegiate Women’s Soccer Injuries on FieldTurf and Natural Grass Surfaces.”

Female soccer athletes from 13 universities were evaluated over 5 competitive seasons for injury incidence, injury category, time of injury, injury time loss, player position, injury mechanism and situation, primary type of injury, injury grade and anatomic location, field location at the time of injury, injury severity, head and lower extremity trauma, cleat design, turf age, environmental factors, elective imaging and surgical procedures, and others. In total, 797 collegiate games were evaluated for match-related soccer injuries sustained on FieldTurf or natural grass during 5 seasons.

A significantly lower total injury incidence rate and lower rate of substantial injuries were documented on FieldTurf versus natural grass, respectively. Analyses also indicated significantly less trauma on FieldTurf when comparing injury time loss, player position, injury grade, injuries under various field conditions and temperatures, cleat design, and turf age.

In the elective imaging and surgical procedures category there were fewer MRI/CT Procedures reported along with fewer Radiographs/X-ray Procedures, Surgical Procedures, and fewer Elective Imaging and Surgical Procedures combined.

The FieldTurf sponsored research was led by Michael C. Meyers, PhD, FACSM in the Department of Sport Science and Physical Education, Idaho State University.

“Findings are consistent with prior studies on high school and collegiate football demonstrating the advantages of FieldTurf during competitive play,” said Dr. Meyers. “When it comes to safety, FieldTurf is a practical alternative to natural grass when considering playing surfaces for soccer.”

The data from this study builds on previous long-term safety and traction studies that reiterate the short and long-term safety of FieldTurf fields.

Findings of this recently published study suggested FieldTurf fields outperformed the Natural Grass fields to the following degrees:

In regards to incidence of injury:

11% Fewer Total Injuries
37% Fewer Substantial Injuries
33% Fewer Severe Injuries

In regards to head and knee trauma:

12% Fewer Concussions
18% Lower ACL and Associated Tissue Trauma Combined

In regards to injury category and injury time loss:

15% Less Injury From Player-to-Player Collisions
36% Less Injury From Shoe Surface Interaction during Contact
11% Less Injury From Shoe Surface Interaction during Noncontact
25% Muscle-Tendon Overload

In regards to environmental factors:

48% Less injury During Inclement Weather (rain, snow, sleet)
63% Less injury During No Precipitation, Wet Field Conditions
32% Lower Incidence of Injury during Games Played Under Hot Weather Conditions
7% Lower Incidence of Injury during Games Played Under Cold Weather Conditions

In regards to cleat design:

29% Less injury from combination of molded conical/cleats
12% Less injury from combination molded conical/blade

In regards to age of playing surface:

33% Less injury on new surfaces
13% Less injury on surfaces that are 4-7 years old
57% Less injury on surfaces that are ≥8 years old

In regards to mechanism of injury:

15% Lower trauma from Impact with the Playing Surface

In regards to primary type of injury:

25% Fewer Ligament Sprains
44% Lower Incidence of High Ankle Ligament Sprains
36% Fewer Ligament Tears
11% Fewer Muscle Strains and Tears
30% Fewer Fractures
29% Less Ankle Trauma
26% Less Foot and Ankle Trauma Combined

In regards to elective imaging and surgical procedures:

11% Fewer of MRI/CT Procedures
33% Fewer Radiographs/X-ray Procedures
17% Fewer Surgical Procedures
22% Fewer Elective Imaging and Surgical Procedures Combined

In regards to grade of injury:

15% Lower Incidence of First Degree Trauma
52% Lower Incidence of Second Degree Trauma
35% Lower Incidence of Third Degree Trauma

In regards to type of tissue injured:

26% Lower Incidence of Bone Trauma
24% Lower Incidence of Joint Trauma
23% Lower Incidence of Muscle Trauma
11% Lower Incidence of Neural Trauma