Examining the differences in knee joint kinematics between natural and artificial turf in a population of female footballers.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Inconsistent literature surrounds the issue of playing surface in football. With an ever-increasing footballing population the international governing body FIFA aim to introduce artificial playing surfaces to combat climatic effects that are detrimental to the game on natural grass. Football places a wide range of physical demands on performers and with proposed changes to playing surface it is essential to understand the role these surfaces may play in injury potential. This study aimed to control for the wide range of factors influencing injury during football to examine the role playing surface may have on injury potential. The purpose of this study was to examine differences in knee joint kinematics between natural and artificial turf during a cutting manoeuvre at thirty and sixty degree angles in a population of female football players. Eight female university footballers with right leg dominance participated in the investigation. Three-dimensional kinematics of the non-dominant leg was recorded using two Coda-Sport scanners and 14 automated markers on specific anatomical markers during the early deceleration phase of the cutting manoeuvre on natural and artificial turf. Knee joint angle and angular velocity were examined in the sagittal, frontal and transverse planes. A repeated measures ANOVA identified significant differences in the key kinematic variables of the study between the surfaces. Significance levels were set to p<0.05. Further analysis of the movement highlighted differences in touch-down (TD), mean and peak joint angle and angular velocity. Greater internal rotation and valgus angle were identified on artificial turf in combination with greater deceleration in all three analysed planes on artificial turf. The identified differences have been linked with increased injury risk and the pattern of the results indicate that the females of the study experienced positions in which injury potential in greater on artificial turf. It was therefore concluded that artificial turf had a greater injury potential than natural turf.
DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (HONOURS) SPORT AND EXERCISE SCIENCE
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