Incidence of injury among adolescent soccer players: a comparative study of artificial and natural grass turfs

Clin J Sport Med. 2010 Jan;20(1):1-7. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e3181c967cd.


Objective: To investigate the incidence of acute injuries and soccer-related chronic pain from long-term training and during matches in adolescent players using natural grass turfs (NT) and artificial turfs (AT).

Design: Case-controlled prospective study.

Setting: Institutional-level Fédération Internationale de Football Association Medical Centre of Excellence.

Participants: Youth soccer players (12-17 years of age) from 6 teams, with a predominant tendency to train on either NT or AT, were included. Of 332 players enrolled in this study, 301 remained to completion.

Interventions: Medically diagnosed acute injuries and chronic pain were recorded daily by team health care staff throughout 2005, and reports were provided monthly to the authors.

Assessment of risk factors: Noninvasive prospective study.

Independent variables: Age and turf type.

Main outcome measures: Acute injuries per 1000 player hours on each surface and chronic complaints per 1000 player hours were evaluated according to frequency of surface used > or = 80% of the time. Incidence rate ratio (IRR) of acute injuries and chronic complaints during play on NT and AT was calculated.

Results: There was no significant difference in the incidence of acute injuries between the 2 surfaces during training and competition. However, the AT group showed a significantly higher incidence of low back pain during training (IRR, 1.62; 95% confidence interval, 1.06-2.48). Early adolescence and prolonged training hours were factors associated with an increased incidence of chronic pain in the AT group.

Conclusion: Adolescent players routinely training on AT for prolonged periods should be carefully monitored, even on AT conforming to new standards.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Pain / epidemiology*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Poaceae*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Soccer / injuries*