Background: Artificial turf is becoming increasingly popular, although the injury risk on newer turf generations is unknown. Hypothesis: To investigate the risk to injury on artificial turf versus natural grass among young female football players.
Study design: Prospective cohort study.
Methods: 2 020 players from 109 teams (15.4±0.8 years) participated in the study during the 2005 football season. All time-loss injuries and exposure data on different turf types were recorded throughout an eight-month period.
Results: A total of 421 (21%) sustained 526 injuries, leading to an injury incidence of 3.7 (95% CI 3.4 to 4.0) per 1000 playing hours. No difference was observed in the incidence of acute injuries on artificial turf compared to grass for match injuries (rate ratio RR=1.0 [0.8 to 1.3], P=.72) or training injuries (RR=1.0 [0.6 to 1.5], P=.93). In matches, the incidence of serious injuries was significantly higher on artificial turf (RR=2.0 [1.3 to 3.2], P=.03). Ankle sprains was the most common injury type (34% of all acute injuries), and there was a trend towards more ankle sprains on artificial turf than grass (RR=1.5, [1.0 to 2.2], P=.06).
Conclusion: Among young female football players, the overall risk of acute injuries was similar between artificial turf and natural grass.
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