Injuries on artificial turf

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To the Editor:

I have been following the ongoing debate regarding the new surface to be used for the high school athletic field with considerable interest, during the past (could it really be this long?) two years, and I am astonished that nothing has ever been mentioned about the pros and

cons of artificial turf versus grass in relation to injuries to athletes using the fields. At the professional level, the NFL has been collecting data since 2012, and I quote: “Players have a 28 percent higher rate of noncontact lower-extremity injuries when playing on artificial turf. Of those noncontact injuries, players have a 32 percent higher rate of noncontact knee injuries on turf, and a staggering 69 percent of noncontact foot/ankle injuries on turf compared to grass.”

Maybe this higher injury rate only applies to professional athletes? Not so. The University Hospitals Sports Medicine Institute partners with more than 50 high schools in an effort to keep their athletes injuryfree. Data collected during the 2017–18 seasons and collected by 26 high school athletic trainers were analyzed, and, I quote again, “athletes were 58 percent more likely to sustain an injury during athletic activity on artificial turf. Injury rates were significantly higher in football, girls and boys soccer, and rugby athletes. Lower-extremity, upper-extremity and torso injuries were also found to occur with a higher incidence on artificial turf.”

 

Susan Kimball
Oak Bluffs