Background Previously, no difference in acute injury rate has been found when playing football on artificial turf (AT) compared with natural grass (NG).
Aim To compare acute injury rates in professional football played on AT and NG at the individual player level; and to compare, at club level, acute and overuse injury rates between clubs that have AT at their home venue (AT clubs) and clubs that have NG (NG clubs).
Methods 32 clubs (AT, n=11; NG, n=21) in the male Swedish and Norwegian premier leagues were followed prospectively during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Injury rate was expressed as the number of time loss injuries/1000 h and compared with rate ratio (RR) and 99% CI.
Results No statistically significant differences were found in acute injury rates on AT compared with NG during match play (RR 0.98, 99% CI 0.79 to 1.22) or training (RR 1.14, 99% CI 0.86 to 1.50) when analysing at the individual player level. When analysing at the club level, however, AT clubs had a significantly higher acute training injury rate (RR 1.31, 99% CI 1.04 to 1.63) and overuse injury rate (RR 1.38, 99% CI 1.14 to 1.65) compared with NG clubs.
Conclusions At the individual player level, no significant differences were found in acute injury rates when playing on AT compared with NG. However, clubs with AT at their home venue had higher rates of acute training injuries and overuse injuries compared with clubs that played home matches on NG.
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