This year’s Super Bowl in Houston was played on synthetic turf. Does the field's surface type — grass or turf — affect players' performance or injury?
Interestingly, artificial turf was first used next-door at the Astrodome a few months before the first Super Bowl. Nowadays, the top layer contains blades of plastic that are manufactured to look, feel, and function like blades of grass.
One major benefit of artificial turf is that the surface is more uniform — free of things like potholes. However, turf is stiffer than grass, which can increase force and friction sustained during an injury. On a sunny day, surface temperature on an artificial turf field is appreciably hotter than grass and may increase the incidence of athlete fatigue.
Most studies of current third-generation artificial turf have concluded that it does not lead to significantly more injuries than grass. Ongoing research will help develop modifications of existing products and determine which fields are the safest.
In case you were wondering, during the past NFL season, 18 stadiums had natural grass and 13 contained artificial turf.
If you are worried about your performance or injury, you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Miller by calling (847) 675-3400 or clicking here.