Updated on August 3, 2021
Sports Injury Occurrence and Synthetic Turf Field Manufacturer Negligence
Synthetic turf is basically a field of synthetic fibers created to resemble natural grass. It’s most commonly used in sporting arenas for outdoor sports such as football or soccer, usually or originally played on natural grass. But it’s now also being utilized on commercial and residential applications as well. And the latter’s increasing popularity is attributed to several factors, according to pros at Synthetic Turf San.
One of the major reasons synthetic turf has gained popularity is the increase in injuries related to playing. It’s no longer just seen as an alternative for natural grass because of its numerous advantages in injury prevention and healing. But what are these factors? Let’s take a closer look at them.
One factor responsible for the increasing popularity of artificial grass is its ability to withstand heat stress. Heat stress is caused by direct sunlight, temperature fluctuations, intense exercise, physical exertion, and chemical exposure. A recent study showed that players who regularly use artificial turfs experience significantly less heatstroke than players on natural grass fields. Injuries that occur during strenuous activities or exercising like running, weightlifting, etc.
Another benefit of using synthetic turf is its wide variety of materials, including natural and synthetic rubber. Among the materials used in it are crumb rubber, polyethylene, rubber-based plastics like PVC, and oil-based oils like oil TMJ, rubber tar, oil plastic wraps, rubber oils, etc. Many manufacturers use crumb rubber as a component of artificial grass because of its unique properties. Its high water solubility, elasticity, resilience, chemical and grease resistance make it ideal for artificial surfaces.
Oil-based synthetic fibers are also used to make artificial turf athletic fields. Its lubricity, flexibility, resilience, and fire retardant make it popular as a surface in several sporting venues, including football, baseball, basketball, tennis, golf, and softball. Oil-based synthetic fibers are known to be highly resilient and are able to withstand wear and tear. Its anti-fungal, antimicrobial, and slip resistant properties also help keep it hygienic and safe.
Synthetic turf’s antifungal properties allow it to inhibit mold, bacteria, mildew, algae, and viruses. However, there are still other unforeseen factors which may pose a risk to athletes playing on such sports fields. According to the American Sports Training Association (ASTA), certain cancers, and allergies may be present in players because of contact with these synthetic surfaces. An increase in respiratory and sinus infections has also been reported in athletes playing on artificial surfaces.
Although the synthetics used to make sporting fields are less injurious than natural grass, they may cause unwanted injuries for some players and create unnecessary dangers for the general public. For example, football players run faster, take longer strides, and dive for the ball when playing on turf surfaces. The knees and ankles are especially susceptible to injury and are often directly affected during tackle plays. In addition, certain strains and injuries occur in the legs and feet that are not helped by natural grass’ elasticity.
Sports Equipment Manufacturers has yet to formulate commercial products for safe and reliable use in sporting venues. However, most companies have already released lines of products for recreational use. Most companies warn users to wear protective gears such as cleats and shoes to minimize the risk of injury. With the many injuries that synthetic turf has been associated with, safety should be given priority above other considerations.
One of the most common ways in which athletes get hurt is through dehydration. Because of the chemical properties of synthetic turf fields, sports enthusiasts can become dehydrated after indulging in intense physical activities such as football games. Not only will this cause players to lose more water through perspiration, but it can also result in the spread of infections. Furthermore, dehydration can weaken the immune system and decrease the effectiveness of the body’s defense system. A weakened immune system can lead to the development of infections such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and HIV/AIDS.
Skin abrasions are another way in which athletes are injured on synthetic sporting fields. Some types of synthetic turf are less slippery compared to natural grass, making it more likely for players to slip and fall. However, the natural compounds in the soil may result in contact with these irritants, causing skin abrasions that may result in painful sores or skin lesions.
Sports injury cases may result from the team doctor’s negligence, the team trainer, or the field manufacturer. In most crumb-rubber infill synthetic turf injuries, the players are not sufficiently informed about proper care and treatment. As a result, they fail to visit their doctor for a follow-up appointment. When this happens, many athletes end up with temporary pain relief from the injury, while their injury becomes much worse in reality. To prevent this from happening, schools should require athletic field companies to supply a physician’s referral list so players can be properly informed about pain management medications and other treatment options.