Safety Battle: Artificial V. Natural Turf
There are numerous ways to approach the debate concerning artificial and natural surfaces when it comes to playing sports. Which is better for the environment? Which is cheaper? For athletes, the biggest concern is often how the surface feels and whether or not the surface puts them at greater risk of injury.
Which Surface And Why?
When it comes to the safety of artificial and natural turf you can find studies leaning either way, backed, no doubt, by competing agendas.
A recent study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine showed that female soccer players experienced fewer injuries on FieldTurf, a type of artificial turf, than those who played on natural grass surfaces. Although the reason for this is not entirely clear, researchers believe it may have something to do with the consistent surface that FieldTurf brings.
Another study which analyzed FieldTurf, kept track of the injuries college football players endured and found that these athletes were twice as likely to experience a serious injury on natural grass than they were on FieldTurf, which is used on the majority of NFL fields.
Older studies showed that some brands of artificial turf failed to mimic the shock absorption of grass, making it more dangerous and more likely to cause injury.
While earlier types of artificial surfaces were considered less safe than natural grass because of how they were formulated, companies have since learned to anticipate these problems. Artificial surface is now considered the safer option because it is guaranteed to be flat, while natural surfaces may have unexpected divots and mounds.
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