Background: Artificial turf is becoming increasingly popular, although the risk of injury on newer generations of turf is unknown.
Aim: To investigate the risk of injury on artificial turf compared with natural grass among young female football players.
Study design: Prospective cohort study.
Methods: 2020 players from 109 teams (mean (SD) 15.4 (0.8) years) participated in the study during the 2005 football season. Time-loss injuries and exposure data on different types of turf were recorded over an eight-month period.
Results: 421 (21%) players sustained 526 injuries, leading to an injury incidence of 3.7/1000 playing hours (95% CI 3.4 to 4.0). The incidence of acute injuries on artificial turf and grass did not differ significantly with respect to match injuries (rate ratio (RR) 1.0, 95% CI 0.8 to 1.3; p = 0.72) or training injuries (RR 1.0, 95% CI 0.6 to 1.5, p = 0.93). In matches, the incidence of serious injuries was significantly higher on artificial turf (RR 2.0, 95% CI 1.3 to 3.2; p = 0.03). Ankle sprain was the most common type of injury (34% of all acute injuries), and there was a trend towards more ankle sprains on artificial turf than on grass (RR 1.5, 95% CI 1.0 to 2.2; p = 0.06).
Conclusion: In the present study among young female football players, the overall risk of acute injuries was similar between artificial turf and natural grass.
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Published Online First 5 June 2007
This study was supported by a grant from FIFA. In addition, financial support came from the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, which has been established at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences through grants from the Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority, the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs, the Norwegian Olympic Committee and Confederation of Sports and Norsk Tipping AS.
Competing interests: None.
Guest editors: Jiri Dvorak, Astrid Junge, Collin Fuller and Paul McCrory