Another surprise for us was that we learned that most professional athletes prefer to play on natural grass rather than artificial turf.
A survey of NFL professional football players found that:
- 84% of players believe that injuries are less likely on natural turf
- 91% experience less fatigue & soreness on natural turf
- 92% believe artificial turf shortens their careers
Professional soccer players are also strongly in favor of natural turf. In the spring of 2015, soccer players challenged a decision that women would play on synthetic turf:
“The practice of professional football on synthetic surfaces leads to, even before mentioning the injuries like the one suffered by (Boufal), muscular pain, twists, stress on joints and burns, which end up leaving traces on body parts already under heavy strain”, said the UNFP [players union in France]. (May 2016)
Led by stars like Abby Wambach, Nadine Angerer and Vero Boquete, this effort seeks to force FIFA and 2015 WWC hosts the Canadian Soccer Association to reverse their plan to stage the entire tournament on synthetic turf at six venues across Canada.
Calling turf “a second-class surface” which fundamentally changes the nature of the game and poses “unique and serious risks of injury,” the application – not a formal lawsuit – calls its use at WWC 2015 “inherently discriminatory” in comparison to FIFA’s careful insistence on men’s World Cup matches being played on natural grass, and cites this as a violation of section 1 of the Ontario Human Rights Code.”
Kendall also took it upon herself to investigate what other student athletes knew about synthetic turf.Most were completely unaware that this was a subject of concern. None of them had been educated on the risks of playing on synthetic turf and most assumed it must be fine because their schools provide it.
- What Is Synthetic Turf?
- What Do Athletes Think?
- Health & Safety Concerns
- Turf Burns – First Aid & Treatment
- Antibiotic-Resistant Infections – MRSA
- Environmental Pros & Cons
- Maintenance & Upkeep
- Cost – Natural Turf v. Synthetic
- Play It Safe – Recommendations for Athletes, Parents, and Institutions
- Sources & Links for More Information
- Open Letter to Anyone Considering Synthetic Turf
These pages on Synthetic Turf are based on research and analysis completed in May 2015 by Kendall Garden [Lehigh ’16] and Peter Crownfield. Contact us by email.
[updated 19 May 2015]