‘I am writing in support of our new Algonquin Regional High School Complex’


Letter to the Editor iconI am writing in support of our new Algonquin Regional High School Complex. 

Legitimate health concerns, over the years, have been looked into, and we need a careful understanding of the information. 

The risk of MRSA infections has been raised while playing on turf, given data that has shown a higher incidence among football players.  The potential to transmit MRSA can vary depending on both infill and turf fiber type. The authors of a study from 2020 published in the journal, Sports Health, concluded after careful analysis, summarized their findings by stating that MRSA inoculated onto the majority of common turf materials can remain available for 48 hours.  Of note, this duration is shorter than in other environments.  It is important to educate athletes about the importance of handwashing and care of abrasions and cuts.   

Studies with regards to injuries have been mixed. A British study from 2007 showed the overall risk of injury in adolescent female soccer players was similar when comparing grass versus turf fields. In their analysis, they noted a trend of more ankle sprains occurring on artificial turf.  A more recent study analyzing data from 50 high schools in Ohio showed that high school athletes were 58 percent more likely to sustain an extremity injury during athletic activity on artificial turf. Injury rates were significantly higher for football, girls and boys soccer, and rugby athletes.  They analyzed 953 injuries during the 2017-2018 year, 585 occurred on turf fields, and 368 on natural grass.  

 A systematic review from 2019 revealed a decreased incidence of concussion and head injury in contact sports when played on artificial turf versus grass. In that review there was no difference for soccer.  Research was recently presented by the American Academy of Pediatrics comparing the risk of concussion on grass versus turf fields.  The study used manikins (with helmets on) and analyzed a total of 1,170 drops, 10 on synthetic turf and 9 on grass fields.  While the findings suggested that the concussion risk may be higher on turf fields, the investigators acknowledged that more data is needed.  

What is important to note is that the authors of these studies supported the use of properly maintained and monitored turf fields and emphasized the need for proper helmets, protective equipment and shoes.  Grass fields that are challenging to maintain due to the elements, can pose an even greater risk of injury. 

Safdar Medina, MD, FAAP
School District Physician, Northborough and Southborough
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, UMass Chan Medical School

No posts to display