Could new artificial turf intended to cushion the impact for football player actually be contributing to higher rates of injuries? That’s the concern of some NFL pros as well as a new study that sought to determine if the new turfs cause more injuries than grass.
The new generation of turfs, made of rubber and silica and modeled to mimic grass but with better shock absorption, combined with the increased number of injuries in the NFL this season have already caused Washington Redskins director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer to wonder if there could be a link.
“It raises a question in my mind,” Tyer, who has spent 33 years as a trainer, told Fox Sports. “Is the surface too soft? Does it give too much? Is it too cushiony? When you walk on it, it feels great. But when you exert thousands of pounds of pressure on it from a 330-pound man, does it give too much and provoke the wrong kind of twisting and turning?”
Tyer isn’t alone in questioning the new turf. A study published last week in the American Journal of Sports Medicine sought to determine if more injuries occurred on one of the new synthetic turfs, FieldTurf, than on grass. Using high school football players for their study, researchers determined that more muscle strains and spasms occurred on FieldTurf than on grass. The study also noted that on days when the temperature exceeded 70 degrees, a significantly higher incidence of injury occurred on FieldTurf than on grass.
While injuries are often considered a fact of life in football, Tyer told Fox Sports that he’d like to find out if some of the recent injuries could be prevented by reducing the players’ exposure to whatever it is that’s causing or contributing to this season’s injuries. That may include looking more carefully at the impact of the new playing surfaces