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The perceptions of professional soccer players on the risk of injury from competition and training on natural grass and 3rd generation artificial turf

Constantine CN Poulos1*, John Gallucci23, William H Gage1, Joseph Baker1, Sebastian Buitrago1 and Alison K Macpherson1

Author Affiliations

1 School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, 4700 Keele St, M3J 1P3 Toronto, Canada

2 JAG Physical Therapy, New Jersey, USA

3 Major League Soccer, New York City, USA

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BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation 2014, 6:11  doi:10.1186/2052-1847-6-11

Published: 1 March 2014



The purpose of this study was to describe professional soccer players’ perceptions towards injuries, physical recovery and the effect of surface related factors on injury resulting from soccer participation on 3rd generation artificial turf (FT) compared to natural grass (NG).


Information was collected through a questionnaire that was completed by 99 professional soccer players from 6 teams competing in Major League Soccer (MLS) during the 2011 season.


The majority (93% and 95%) of the players reported that playing surface type and quality influenced the risk of sustaining an injury. Players believed that playing and training on FT increased the risk of sustaining a non-contact injury as opposed to a contact injury. The players identified three surface related risk factors on FT, which they related to injuries and greater recovery times: 1) Greater surface stiffness 2) Greater surface friction 3) Larger metabolic cost to playing on artificial grounds. Overall, 94% of the players chose FT as the surface most likely to increase the risk of sustaining an injury.


Players believe that the risk of injury differs according to surface type, and that FT is associated with an increased risk of non-contact injury. Future studies should be designed prospectively to systematically track the perceptions of groups of professional players training and competing on FT and NG.

Soccer; Perceptions; Artificial turf; Injury; Grass