Artificial turf is basically a surface of synthetic fibers woven to appear like natural organic grass. Nowadays, it has become popular for many uses both in public and private arenas. However, it’s mostly been used on commercial and residential sports fields for football, baseball, soccer, and lacrosse. But it’s also being used on almost any other recreational field because it’s easy to maintain, looks great, and most importantly, is eco-friendly.
The popularity of artificial turf has been on the rise in recent years, especially since some studies have shown its effectiveness in increasing team attendance and winning games. It’s even being used in certain sporting venues for a test run before the official start of the season. And the good thing about testing it out in the field first is that you can observe any possible effects from different surface temperatures without exposing your players or the general public to them. You can observe how the ball reacts with the surface temperature, how it behaves with wetting or dryness, and check if it sticks well to the turf. These are things you can’t do when you’re playing on a natural grass surface. It’s simply too hard to observe and experiment on.
One study conducted on Synthetic Turf concluded that crumb rubber used in one football stadium improved players’ vertical acceleration by almost 10% compared to those who used natural grass. Crumb rubber is actually a synthetic rubber product consisting of a fine mesh of polyethylene fibers that are spun at high-speed in a mold to produce large areas of high pressure and then set into an iron-oxide block. Because of the fine mesh and high-speed spinning process, crumb rubber produces great traction and positive ions that serve as an ion generator to power a variety of appliances, including computers, cell phones, and personal electronic devices.
If you’ve ever walked on a natural lawn, you know that there are millions of tiny rocks and pebbles that make up its surface. Athletic fields are no different, except for the fact that synthetic fibers are used to create the smooth and flat appearance of the field surface. Synthetic fibers come in varying density and strength, and manufacturers can now afford to use these fibers in larger amounts than was previously the case. That means synthetic turf athletic fields are not only more durable, and stronger than natural grass but they’re more comfortable to play on as well. That means you don’t have to take your shoes off during practice as you walk on the synthetic turf athletic fields.
Another advantage of using synthetic turf as a playing surface is that it provides more cushion. When you think about injuries among athletes, the one thing many of them share is that they frequently experience joint and muscle pain. One of the major reasons why this occurs is because the joints are either not positioned properly when they’re being used, which increases the risk of injury or inflammation. With the right seating and orthopedic support designed specifically for people playing on a synthetic turf field, those risks decrease significantly. And since synthetic turf sports fields offer the same playing surface feel to that of natural grass, those players who already have negative concerns about their joints will have even fewer concerns when playing on artificial surfaces.
Some individuals aren’t even aware they have a latex allergy. For instance, a high school football team starting a season with the only synthetic turf available will likely encounter more issues than one that utilizes natural grass. Though the difference in comfort and playability cannot be directly linked to the difference in synthetic materials used or the difference in treatment methods, many people realize they have a sensitivity to latex. So just as football teams need to make accommodations for a variety of individuals, so do medical offices that care for individuals with a latex allergy.
Synthetic Turf allows for better performance in high temperatures and longer periods of heat exposure. Many sports teams prefer utilize infilled synthetic turf fields because the surface doesn’t require a heating system to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the day. Heat stress is a common problem for sporting events held on hot days. With synthetic turf’s ability to maintain a stable temperature, players are less likely to become frustrated or show symptoms of heat stress because they are not forced to exceed their comfort level.
One obvious benefit of the infill synthetic turf is the same reason why natural grass was introduced in the first place: it’s cost-effective. The cost of installation is dramatically less than natural grass and infilled fields can be installed quickly and easily. This cost-savings benefit alone is worth its weight in gold for athletic teams and facilities. However, the biggest benefit of all is the health benefits that synthetic turf provides to individuals who suffer from an allergy to latex. No matter which type of sports medicine you use to treat your injuries, it can be successfully managed on a synthetic field.