Problems mount up for synthetics

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Problems for synthetics mount up

By Editor

In a recent article on Fox Sports Paul Attner writes about an alarming rise of player injuries in the NFL this season.

Some extracts are shown below, the whole article can be viewed by clicking the link above.

"Bubba Tyer has no facts he can recite, no studies he can reference. Just his gut instincts honed from 33 years as an athletic trainer. He, too, has noticed all the injuries in the NFL this season -- the broken legs, hamstring pulls, torn knees, painful ankles -- and he, too, wonders about their cause. He'd like to dismiss them as flukes. But he can't.

Instead, he wonders about the effects of these new FieldTurf-type surfaces, the much-heralded alternative to player-despised artificial turf. FieldTurf and its derivatives provide a softer, more natural feeling platform, cushioning falls and making the transition from grass to synthetic easier.

"It raises a question in my mind," says Tyer, who is the Redskins' director of sports medicine. "Is the surface too soft? Does it give too much? Is it too cushiony? When you walk on it, it feels great. But when you exert thousands of pounds of pressure on it from a 330-pound man, does it give too much and provoke the wrong kind of twisting and turning?"

Tyer understands injuries always will happen; football is a violent game, and players get hurt. He also knows he is dealing with bigger, stronger, faster athletes -- and more of them -- than ever before, and there is no way to strengthen bones and knees to withstand the pressures of being whacked by all this increased power. So bones are going to be broken and knees blown up. But it's important to find out whether some injuries can be prevented by reducing players' exposure to potential injury-inducing elements created by playing surfaces.

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