Background Studies generally report similar acute injury rates when playing football on artificial turf (AT) compared with natural grass (NG), but the association between playing surface and overuse injury rates is rarely reported.
Objective To compare (i) acute injury rates in professional football played on AT and NG at the individual player level, and (ii) acute and overuse injury rates at the club level between clubs having AT at their home venue and clubs with NG.
Design Prospective cohort study.
Setting Male professional football.
Participants All clubs in the Swedish and Norwegian first leagues in seasons 2010 and 2011 were invited to participate. 32/37 clubs participated (AT clubs, n=11; NG clubs, n=21), including 1044 players.
Risk factor assessment Football exposure and injuries on AT vs. NG. Clubs were further defined as AT club or NG club according to the surface installed at their home venue.
Main outcome measurements Injury rate expressed as the number of time loss injuries/1000 hours and reported as a rate ratio (RR) with 99% confidence interval.
Results No differences were found in acute injury rates on AT and NG during match play (RR 0.98, 0.79–1.22) or training (RR 1.14, 0.86–1.50) at individual player level. At club level AT clubs had higher acute training injury rate (RR 1.31, 1.04–1.63), and overuse injury rate (RR 1.38, 1.14–1.65) compared with NG clubs.
Conclusions Consistent with previous research, no differences were seen 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 injury and overuse injury compared with clubs that play home matches on NG.
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