University of Missouri Scientists Study Artificial Turf

8 years 1 month 2 weeks ago Friday, September 03 2010 Sep 3, 2010 Friday, September 03, 2010 4:24:23 AM CDT September 03, 2010 in News

COLUMBIA - The high school football season is underway, and that means some athletes are playing on artificial turf.

Some MU scientists are conducting a new study to see if its safe.

They are especially concerned with the surface temperature of the turf and whether it's a breeding ground for bacteria.

Brad Fresenburg, an MU turf scientist, says there's even been instances where athletes who play on artificial turf have developed staph infections. 

Fresenburg says he can't directly attribute the staph infection to the turf, but that's one of the reasons why he's doing the study, and he's concerned for the safety of football players during the summer heat.

"When we get clear, hot days usually in August we can see temperatures reach as high as 170 degrees on the surface of these fields and that has always been a concern especially when high school football seasons begin in August.  Players and coaches are out there on the fields and doing two-a-day practices.  That always becomes a concern with keeping players hydrated and making sure they don't get overheated on the fields," Fresenburg said.

Although the temperatures are hot, Greg Nagel, Rock Bridge High School's athletic trainer, says he prefers artificial turf.

"We can have so many more athletic events, activities and practices on that field turf, and honestly I see a decrease in ankle injuries.  You get on grass and a lot of times it's an unpredictable, uneven surface.  Field turf is just not that way.  It's very predictable and very smooth.  We really like it, we enjoy it," Nagel said.

Turf scientists started the study in June and plan to continue the study for the next three to five years.

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