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Concept: Artificial turf


To compare the incidence, severity and nature of injuries sustained by Saudi National Team footballers during match-play and training on natural grass and 3rd generation (3G) artificial turf.

Concepts: Artificial turf, Grass


The purpose of this study was to investigate the interaction of skin with natural grass and artificial turf at clinical, histological and immunohistochemical level. Therefore, 14 male volunteers performed slidings on dry natural grass, wet natural grass and artificial turf. Directly and 24 h after the slidings, a clinical picture and a 3-mm punch biopsy of the lesion were taken. Paraffin sections (6 µm) were hematoxylin-eosin stained. Immunohistochemistry was performed for CD3, hBD-2, K16, K10, Ki67 and HSP70. Clinically, a sliding performed on artificial turf caused less erythema but more abrasion compared to natural grass. At histological level, artificial turf or dry natural grass damaged the stratum corneum the most. Directly after the sliding, CD3, hBD-2, K16, K10, Ki67 and HSP70 expression was normal. 24 h after a sliding on artificial turf or dry natural grass, an increase of K16, hBD-2 and HSP70 expression was observed. In this pilot study it was not possible to clearly distinguish between skin damage induced by a sliding on artificial turf and natural grass. However, small differences at clinical and histological level seem to exist. This demonstrates the potential of the skin as readout system to evaluate artificial turf systems and mechanical skin damage.

Concepts: Cancer, Biopsy, Anatomical pathology, Histology, Immunohistochemistry, Microtome, Artificial turf, Grass


This study quantified the mechanical interactions of 19 American football cleats with a natural grass and an infill-type artificial surface under loading conditions designed to represent play-relevant manoeuvres of elite athletes. Variation in peak forces and torques was observed across cleats when tested on natural grass (2.8-4.2 kN in translation, 120-174 Nm in rotation). A significant (p < 0.05) relationship was found between the peak force and torque on natural grass. Almost all of the cleats caused shear failure of the natural surface, which generated a divot following a test. This is a force-limiting cleat release mode. In contrast, all but one of the cleat types held fast in the artificial turf, resulting in force and torque limited by the prescribed input load from the test device (nom. 4.8 kN and 200 Nm). Only one cleat pattern, consisting of small deformable nubs, released on the artificial surface and generated force (3.9 kN) comparable to the range observed with natural grass. These findings (1) should inform the design of cleats intended for use on natural and artificial surfaces and (2) suggest a mechanical explanation for a higher lower-limb injury rate in elite athletes playing on artificial surfaces.

Concepts: Energy, Torque, Force, American football, Physics in medieval Islam, Artificial turf, Grass, Simple machine


Millions of adults, children and teenagers use artificial sports pitches and playgrounds globally. Pitches are artificial grass and bases may be made up of crumb rubber from recycled tires or new rubber and sand. Player injury on pitches was a major concern. Now, debates about health focus on possible exposure and uptake of chemicals within pitch and base materials. Research has looked at potential risks to users from hazardous substances such as metals, volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons including benzo (a) (e) pyrenes and phthalates: some are carcinogens and others may be endocrine disruptors and have developmental reproductive effects. Small environmental monitoring and modelling studies, often with significant data gaps about exposure, range of substances monitored, occupational exposures, types of surfaces monitored and study length across seasons, indicated little risk to sports people and children but some risk to installation workers. A few, again often small, studies indicated potentially harmful human effects relating to skin, respiration and cancers. Only one widely cited biomonitoring study has been done and no rigorous cancer epidemiological studies exist. Unravelling exposures and uptake over decades may prove complex. European regulators have strengthened controls over crumb rubber chemicals, set different standards for toys and crumb rubber pitches. Bigger US studies now underway attempting to fill some of the data gaps will report between 2017 and 2019. Public health professionals in the meantime may draw on established principles to support greater caution in setting crumb rubber exposure limits and controls.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, Risk, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, Benzene, Organic chemistry, Artificial turf, Grass


Self-sorted supramolecular nanofibres-a multicomponent system that consists of several types of fibre, each composed of distinct building units-play a crucial role in complex, well-organized systems with sophisticated functions, such as living cells. Designing and controlling self-sorting events in synthetic materials and understanding their structures and dynamics in detail are important elements in developing functional artificial systems. Here, we describe the in situ real-time imaging of self-sorted supramolecular nanofibre hydrogels consisting of a peptide gelator and an amphiphilic phosphate. The use of appropriate fluorescent probes enabled the visualization of self-sorted fibres entangled in two and three dimensions through confocal laser scanning microscopy and super-resolution imaging, with 80 nm resolution. In situ time-lapse imaging showed that the two types of fibre have different formation rates and that their respective physicochemical properties remain intact in the gel. Moreover, we directly visualized stochastic non-synchronous fibre formation and observed a cooperative mechanism.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Physical chemistry, Fiber, Synthetic fiber, Aramid, Artificial turf, Fibers


Numerous injuries have been attributed to playing on artificial turf. More recently, newer generations of artificial turf have been developed to duplicate the playing characteristics of natural grass. Although artificial turf has been deemed safer than natural grass in some studies, few long-term studies have been conducted comparing match-related collegiate soccer injuries between the 2 playing surfaces.

Concepts: Artificial turf, FieldTurf


Artificial surfaces are now an established alternative to grass (natural) surfaces in rugby union. Little is known, however, about their potential to reduce injury. This study characterises the spinal kinematics of rugby union hookers during scrummaging on third-generation synthetic (3G) and natural pitches. The spine was sectioned into five segments, with inertial sensors providing three-dimensional kinematic data sampled at 40 Hz/sensor. Twenty-two adult, male community club and university-level hookers were recruited. An equal number were analysed whilst scrummaging on natural or synthetic turf. Players scrummaging on synthetic turf demonstrated less angular velocity in the lower thoracic spine for right and left lateral bending and right rotation. The general reduction in the range of motion and velocities, extrapolated over a prolonged playing career, may mean that the synthetic turf could result in fewer degenerative injuries. It should be noted, however, that this conclusion considers only the scrummaging scenario.

Concepts: Vertebral column, Classical mechanics, Acceleration, Velocity, Kinematics, Thoracic vertebrae, Speed, Artificial turf


The purpose of this study was to describe professional soccer players' perceptions towards injuries, physical recovery and the effect of surface related factors on injury resulting from soccer participation on 3rd generation artificial turf (FT) compared to natural grass (NG).

Concepts: Artificial turf


With significant water savings and low maintenance requirements, artificial turf is increasingly promoted as a replacement for natural grass on athletic fields and lawns. However, there remains the question of whether it is an environmentally friendly alternative to natural grass. The major concerns stem from the infill material that is typically derived from scrap tires. Tire rubber crumb contains a range of organic contaminants and heavy metals that can volatilize into the air and/or leach into the percolating rainwater, thereby posing a potential risk to the environment and human health. A limited number of studies have shown that the concentrations of volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds in the air above artificial turf fields were typically not higher than the local background, while the concentrations of heavy metals and organic contaminants in the field drainages were generally below the respective regulatory limits. Health risk assessment studies suggested that users of artificial turf fields, even professional athletes, were not exposed to elevated risks. Preliminary life cycle assessment suggested that the environmental impacts of artificial turf fields were lower than equivalent grass fields. Areas that need further research to better understand and mitigate the potential negative environmental impacts of artificial turf are identified.

Concepts: Environment, Risk, Natural environment, Risk management, Environmentalism, Heavy metal music, Artificial turf


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.

Concepts: Statistical significance, Injury, Trigraph, Gh, Physical trauma, American football, Artificial turf, Professional sports