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Medicina dello Sport 2010 June;63(2):265-76


language: English, Italian

Synthetic turf: risk of the onset of muscular-skeletal lesions in young football players

Di Tante V. 1, Stefani L. 1, Pruna R. 2, Mercuri R. 1, Galanti G. 1

1 Sports Medicine Agency, University of Florence, Florence, Italy 2 Football Club Barcelona, Barcelona, Spagna


Aim. To assess the influence of different types of playing surface (natural grass and synthetic turf) on the onset of muscular-skeletal lesions and possible relapses, and on recovery times after rehabilitation by football players at a developing age.
Methods. We assessed 133 young football players who belonged to two different sports clubs: 69 athletes who trained on a pitch of artificial turf (group A), and 64 athletes of the same age who trained on a pitch of natural grass (group B). All the athletes were divided into 3 teams by date of birth (1995, 1994, 1993). The athletes who reported muscular-skeletal pain during training or competitions, were given a medical examination, and a therapy was decided, specific for each type of pathology, and they underwent rehabilitation treatment, specific for each type of pathology.
Results. The athletes in group A presented a significantly higher number of muscular-skeletal pathologies than those in group B (16 vs. 4, p<0.01, R.R.=3.7). The largest differences were noted in athletes born in 1994 (9 vs. 2, p<0.02, R.R.=4.28). The commonest lesions were 1st degree muscular lesions and tendonitis of the adductor muscles for group A, and delayed muscular pain for group B. No significant difference emerged regarding recovery times, although these were longer for the athletes in group A. The number of relapses was different, although not significantly so, for muscular lesions (2 for group A vs. 0 for group B) and for ankle sprains (1 for group B vs. 0 for group A).
Conclusion. From our results it emerged that training on synthetic turf increases the risk of muscle and tendon pathologies.

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