Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2008) 07, 184 - 190

Case report
A Hypothesis: Could Portable Natural Grass be a Risk Factor for Knee Injuries?
John Orchard1, , Gil Rodas2, Lluis Til2, Jordi ArdevÒl2, Ian Chivers3
Author Information
1 University of Sydney, Australia
2 FC Barcelona, Spain
3 University of Melbourne, Australia

John Orchard
✉ University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
Publish Date
Received: 17-09-2007
Accepted: 04-12-2007
Published (online): 01-03-2008
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Previous study has shown a likely link between increased shoe- surface traction and risk of knee Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury. Portable natural grass systems are being used more often in sport, but no study to date has investigated their relative safety. By their nature, they must have high resistance to falling apart and therefore newly laid systems may be at risk of creating excessive shoe-surface traction. This study describes two clusters of knee injuries (particularly non-contact ACL injuries), each occurring to players of one professional football team at single venue, using portable grass, in a short space of time. The first series included two ACL injuries, one posterolateral complex disruption and one lateral ligament tear occurring in two rugby league games on a portable bermudagrass surface in Brisbane, Australia. The second series included four non-contact ACL injuries over a period of ten weeks in professional soccer games on a portable Kentucky bluegrass/perennial ryegrass surface in Barcelona, Spain. Possible intrinsic risk factors are discussed but there was no common risk shared by the players. Although no measures of traction were made at the Brisbane venue, average rotational traction was measured towards the end of the injury cluster at Camp Nou, Barcelona, to be 48 Nm. Chance undoubtedly had a part to play in these clusters, but the only obvious common risk factor was play on a portable natural grass surface soon after it was laid. Further study is required to determine whether portable natural grass systems may exhibit high shoe-surface traction soon after being laid and whether this could be a risk factor for knee injury.

Key words: Anterior cruciate ligament, bermudagrass, perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass

           Key Points
  • Excessive shoe-surface traction is a hypothesised risk factor for knee ligament injuries, including anterior cruciate ligament injuries.
  • Portable natural grass systems (by their nature in order to prevent grass rolls or squares from falling apart) will tend to exhibit high resistance to tearing when first laid. This may lead to excessive shoe-surface traction.
  • This dual case series describes two clusters of non-contact knee ligament injuries which occurred in circumstances of newly laid portable turf.
  • Further research is warranted to undercover any link between non-contact knee ligament injuries and ground surfaces conditions.
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