February 2017

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 35 of 51

36 SportsTurf | February 2017 FIELD SCIENCE Editor's note: This article was written by Frenchman Philippe Rouch so please forgive us if the English translation isn't perfect! I njuries can be carrier killers for players. A serious trau- matic injury could end untimely the player season. Moreover, it takes a while for the player to come back to its top physical and psychological level. Some of them never manage to do it. These injuries are also financial burden on club. With the increase of player's values, club cannot afford them to be badly injured, which can decrease their value and indisposed them for several games. That is the reason why player's safety is becoming one of the most important aspects of the football clubs' policy. PLAYING SURFACE & INJURY RISK It has been reported that 64% of the players who experienced an injury believed that was caused by the pitch. Up to 91% of them think that the type of playing surface can increase this risk. Elite players perceive the injury risk to be higher on artificial turf (AT) compared to natural grass (NG) particularly when ligament dam- ages are considered. The influence of the playing surfaces on the injury rate has been highly studied mostly through retrospective epidemiological stud- ies. Despite the evolution of artificial turf system and the develop- ment of the 3rd and 4th generation technology, their impact on injury risk is still debating. This may be partly due to the variety of natural grass type they have been compared, to the geographic location of the pitch and the sport concerns. Evolution of natural grass playing surface has also been accelerated in recent year mainly with the emergence of reinforced natural turf (so-called hybrid) technologies. These latter have been engineered to reinforce natural rootzone and provide resistance, stability and durability independent of environmental conditions. These reinforced natural turf pitches have been introduced into many top-level stadia and the difficulty lies in the fact that all these technologies differ to each other in the engineering process leading to drastic mechanical property differences on pitch. Given the variety of the different playing surfaces includ- ing natural grass, artificial turf and reinforced natural turf, it is essential to characterize their mechanical properties and im- pact on player welfare. Even if some existing FIFA-standard tests define some safety limits, the range for impact hardness and shear resistance are not related to biomechanical or injury data yet. Then, the ability of the standards to define surface safety is limited, moreover if reinforce natural turf are taking into account. Nevertheless, a clear consensus recognized that poor surface quality might predispose to more non-contact injury independently to the type of surface. Surface hardness and irregularity are the two main factors identified by players as cause of related-pitch-injury occurrence. The mechanical characteristics of sports surfaces related to athlete-surface interaction could be divided into (i) vertical behavior during impact and (ii) horizontal behavior (traction force) relating to the grip of shoes on the surface. Ideal surface allows play- ers to move efficiently trough the stride, and should there- fore present a combination of firmness (to give amount of support), cushioning (to damp the shock at impact), grip (to provide traction during push-off and turns) and rebound (to return energy from the soil during the push-up). Even if no clear link has been showed between artificial turf and injury raise, players still complains. Therefore, some The inverse dynamic procedure INFLUENCE OF PLAYING SURFACE ON ACL INJURIES FOR NON-CONTACT SPORTS ■ BY DR. PHILIPPE ROUCH, XAVIER DREVELLE, & PATRICIA THOREUX

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of SportsTurf - February 2017