Background With regard to sliding friction sports floor manufacturers focus on comfort and performance aspects of athletes. In relation to safety aspects standardisation bodies rather concentrate on slippery than on dull floors. Thus, sliding friction coefficients from 0.4 to 0.6 (DIN 18032) are recommended. Biomechanical analyses have shown that higher sliding friction values produce higher joint moments and thereby probably increase the risk of acute and chronic injuries to the lower extremities.
Objective Evaluation of the floor conditions of sports floors used in German men's professional basketball and handball with specific regard to sliding friction.
Design Pilot study.
Setting Two highest professional leagues in German men's basketball and handball.
Participants Overall, eight out of 53 sports floors used in regular league basketball and handball competition, two floors from first and second league respectively, were randomly picked for sample measurement of the floor conditions.
Assessment of Risk Factors Determination of the friction coefficient by tribometric method (GTE, GMG 200) in four different areas of the playgrounds in each case.
Main Outcome Measurements Friction coefficient in accordance to DIN 18032 (sports floors), DIN 51131, EN 13893.
Results In basketball the mean sliding friction coefficient was 0.41, ranging from 0.37 to 0.43. By contrast, in handball the observed mean value was 0.95, ranging from 0.78 to 1.06.
Conclusions In view of sliding friction, all sample measured basketball floors were in accordance with the DIN 18032 but neither of the evaluated handball floors met these criteria. High sliding friction values were likely to result from intense resin use in handball. With regard to players' safety sports floor manufacturers, clubs and cleaning companies should be aware of this problem and develop targeted cleaning regimes for sports floors used in professional handball competitions. In handball, especially in view of resin use, rather than to the floor type.