Research Shows Overwhelmingly: Artificial Sports Turf is as Safe as Natural Grass April 02 2015

Perth, WA, 1 April 2015 - For years, traditionalists and other opponents of artificial sports turf have claimed that it causes more injuries than natural grass. Twenty years ago, on first and second generation artificial turf, they may have been right. Recently, though, volumes of research have appeared, all with the conclusion that artificial sports turf carries no greater risk of injury than natural grass.

Why the Dogma Still Exists
Original first generation “AstroTurf” was extremely hard. It was basically a thick carpet placed on cement. It didn’t even look very much like grass. It was used for indoor stadiums in the US that were unable to sustain and maintain a natural grass field indoors. 

When second generation artificial turf came out, it was better, but still not enough like real grass.  Researchers compiled statistics showing that players were more likely to injure their knees on second generation artificial turf.

The Changing Face of Sports Turf
The artificial grass industry changed their product to make it more safe. By the third generation, they made a quantum leap. Concrete had been replaced by soft sand and crushed rock, compressed into a firm but giving surface. The old “carpet” designs had been replaced by backing, fibres as soft as natural grass and infill made of rubber pellets and sand. 

FIFA liked third generation sports turf so much that they would commission the development of their 1 Star and 2 Star sports turf systems. 1 Star is for amateur and club level competition and 2 Star is for elite or professional competition. The 1 Star and 2 Star quality concept has been a success on all levels.

What the New Studies Say
Justin Everley is the director of Green Planet Grass, a sports turf supplier in Perth. His company is one of a select group that installs 1 Star and 2 Star FIFA sports turf. Recently, on his company blog, Mr Everley cited numerous studies indicating that third generation artificial turf, now abbreviated as “3GAT,” carries no greater risk of injury than natural grass or “NG.” 

The studies come from the US Journal of Sports Medicine, the British Journal of Sports Medicine, FIFA and the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. They cover male and female players from the junior to the elite level.

Every single study concludes that 3GAT carries no greater risk of injury than NG.

According to Mr Everley: “For too long, proponents of natural grass have misinformed the public. We were very happy to find studies that debunk all rhetoric about artificial grass causing more injuries. Synthetic sports turf is as safe as natural grass, but it can take far more play and the surface is always perfect, even in the Perth climate.”

Mr Everley concluded, “Depending on the individual requirements, there are many compelling reasons why some times it is favourable to install artificial sports turf as opposed to natural grass.”