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Pro-Con: Which is safer: Natural grass or artificial turf?

By Sonny Long
July 15, 2013 at 2:15 a.m.


NATURAL GRASS VS. FIELDTURF

Football Injuries A five-year study of eight high schools

Variable/FieldTurf/Natural Grass

Games/150/90

All injuries/228/125

Minor injuries per game/1.21/1.07

Substantial injuries per game/0.19/0.13

Severe injuries per game/0.11/0.19

KEY

Minor injury = 0 to 6 days lost

Substantial injury = 7 to 21 days lost

Severe injury = 22 or more days lost

SOURCE: INCIDENCE, CAUSES AND SEVERITY OF HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL INJURIES ON FIELDTURF VERSUS NATURAL GRASS, MEYERS, BARNHILL, ET.AL,. PUBLISHED 2004, AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE

The use of artificial turf on sports fields first gained national attention in the Astrodome in the 1960s as the world was introduced to AstroTurf.

And although sometimes any artificial grass is mistakenly referred to as AstroTurf, it's not necessarily that brand and certainly not the same as it was in the 1960s.

Artificial turf is in what is known as its third generation, starting with the original AstroTurf, then moving to sand infills - put between the blades of the artificial grass - and now the more common infills are mixtures of sand and recycled rubber, according to the company Artificial Turf Supply.

As long as the artificial turf has been around, its safety for athletes compared to performing on natural grass has been debated.

Cuero High School and Refugio High School are installing artificial turf on their football fields for the upcoming seasons.

Is this the safest option for the student-athletes?

PRO: Artificial turf doesn't mean more impact injuries

CON: Natural grass is biologically healthier

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