Force-Limiting and the Mechanical Response of Natural Turfgrass Used in the National Football League

Lower limb injury rate in the National Football League (NFL) is greater on synthetic turf than on natural turfgrass due to differences in peak load, implying that load-limiting mechanism improvements on synthetic turf could reduce such injuries. To guide these improvements, a recent paper featuring PISC Senior Scholar Kristy Arbogast, PhD, investigated the peak loads of natural turfgrass when loaded by a cleated footform and corridors that define the load–displacement response. After testing various grasses, the study found that tests on Kentucky bluegrass and two cultivars of hybrid bermudagrass generated peak force<4.95 kN and torque<173 Nm, which would be expected to mitigate injury risk. In full-power tests, bermudagrass withstood significantly greater peak loads than Kentucky bluegrass, implying that continuing study of these grasses could bring about major improvements to synthetic football turf.

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