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AOSSM: High School Football Injuries Tied to Turf Composition

Researchers recommend minimum of 6.0 pounds per square foot of infill weight

MONDAY, July 11, 2016 (HealthDay News) — As artificial infill surface weight decreases, the incidence of game-related high school football trauma significantly increases, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, held from July 7 to 10 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Michael Meyers, Ph.D., an associate professor with the department of sport science and physical activity at Idaho State University in Pocatello, analyzed injuries at 52 high schools in four states over five football seasons. All the high schools had artificial turf.

The average number of injuries per season on the fields with the most infill (9 or more pounds per square foot) was 18. But that number grew to 34 on fields with infill measured at 3 to 5 pounds per square foot. The study also reported higher rates of injuries from contact with the ground on fields with less infill. In general, Meyers told HealthDay, these injuries occurred to players’ arms and legs.

When there’s less infill, Meyers said, “you have less firmness, less foundation, less room for error.” Meyers recommends that campuses install artificial turf with at least 6 pounds per square foot of infill. If an existing field has less than that, he said, school officials should add more infill.

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