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Artificial Turf Helps Football Players With Agility Drills

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- College football players' times on a standard agility drill were 3 percent faster on artificial field turf than on natural grass, but there was little difference in their times for the 40-yard dash, a new study has found.

The study included 24 players whose average on the 40-yard dash turned out to be 5.34 seconds on field turf and 5.33 seconds on natural grass. Their average on the pro-agility shuttle test was 4.49 seconds on field turf and 4.64 seconds on natural grass.

"It appears that straight-ahead sprint speed is similar between field turf and natural grass, but change-of-direction speed may be significantly faster on field turf," Graydon L. Gaines, of Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., and colleagues wrote in the October issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

The study authors said the lack of difference in 40-yard dash times was surprising. Field turf produces less slippage between the shoe and surface and should be expected to produce faster sprint times. But the results may have been affected by differences in the shoe sole and stud configuration used in the study, the researchers suggested.

The investigators also noted that reduced slippage associated with field turf may increase an athlete's risk of injury while making sudden direction changes, "although evidence for this is currently lacking."

More information

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers football injury prevention tips.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, news release, October 2010

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