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Heavyweight Infill Systems Proven Safest for Football

Exhaustive study confirms that infill weight plays a key role in reducing player injuries. Systems with >9.0 pounds proven safest.

The most recent ongoing safety study on synthetic turf confirms the importance of heavy infill weight as it relates to player injuries at the high school football level. This represents another major finding for quality artificial turf systems designed for player safety.

The prospective cohort study entitled ‘Incidence, Mechanisms, and Severity of Game-Related High School Football Injuries Across Artificial Turf Systems of Various Infill Weight – A Four-Year Study’, states that “as the artificial infill surface weight decreased, the incidence of game-related high school football trauma significantly increased across numerous playing conditions.”

The study focused on data gathered during competitive season and playoff games from 2010-2014 in the states of Pennsylvania, Montana, Southern California, and Texas. A total of 52 schools participated and all had full time ATC staff.

The infill weight study was presented at the 2016 annual American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) meeting and will continue for seasons to come. The study was awarded the AOSSM’s first-annual STOP Sports Injuries award. 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 of the longitudinal study show that the heaviest weighted infill systems outperformed the lighter weight infilled fields in the majority of injury categories.

Some of the key differences found are as follows (lb/sq.ft = pounds per square foot):

Concussion Injuries Combined
• 8.3% lower incidence of injury between FieldTurf >9 lb/sq.ft and 3-5.9 p/sq.ft of infill weight

Total Injuries
• 20.5% lower incidence of injury between FieldTurf >9 lb/sq.ft and 3-5.9 p/sq.ft of infill weight

Severe Injuries• 16.8% lower incidence of injury between FieldTurf >9 lb/sq.ft and 3-5.9 p/sq.ft of infill weight

Player-to-Turf Collision
• 36.9% lower incidence of injury between FieldTurf >9 lb/sq.ft and 3-5.9 lb/sq.ft of infill weight

Adverse Weather Conditions Combined
• 26.3% lower incidence of injury between FieldTurf >9 lb/sq.ft and 3-5.9 lb/sq.ft of infill weight

Turf Age (8+ years)
• 72.7% lower incidence of injury between FieldTurf >9 lb/sq.ft and 3-5.9 lb/sq.ft of infill weight

Turf Age (4 to 8+ years)
•33.8% lower incidence of injury between FieldTurf >9 lb/sq.ft and 3-5.9 lb/sq.ft of infill weight

Today's new generations of artificial turf systems are being installed to duplicate or exceed playing characteristics of natural grass. Rather than playing on the polyethylene turf fibers, player to surface interaction actually occurs between the individual and the various proprietary sand/rubber infill compositions of varying weight.