There is no doubt that artificial pitches are easier to maintain than real grass football pitches; lawn mowers, sun and rain are not essential to helping it survive. However, for a while now, the question ‘do artificial pitches lead to more injuries than real grass pitches?’ has been raised by footballers and their managers.

Artificial pitches have quickly become a staple of a football game, yet there could quite possibly be a link between the newly implemented Desso artificial pitches and the amount of injuries among players.

This blog post provided by BowCom looks at whether the artificial grass is posing a threat to the modern-day football player.

What is a Desso pitch?

A Desso pitch is part natural grass and part artificial fiber, combined to create the perfect hybrid. Surprisingly, the pitches themselves are mostly sand based, with only 3% of the surface being made up of intertwining grass and fibers.

The pitches are easy to look after with an extensive drainage system that insures that the classic British rainfall doesn’t get in the way of the next football match, plus, an under-soil heating system, which helps maintain the grass and keeps it fresh for the next fixture.

What is the worry?

Desso pitches have proven popular over the past few years because they encourage a much smoother and faster style of play, however, football managers have started to become worried of the effect that it has on the players’ health.

Roy Hodgson, ex-England football manager between 2012 and 2016, had previously called the turf a ‘snake in the grass’ and other players such as Thierry Henry have also vocalised their concern about consistently training on artificial grounds.

The main concern is the increased toughness of the turf. While the hybrid materials provide a stable foundation, it is also much harder than the traditional grass counterpart so could cause more injuries when a player falls?

Another concern is that players’ boots may get stuck within the pitch materials, therefore providing more rotational force through the lower limb. This is a huge problem for all footballers as it could jeopardize their career as playing football places a lot of pressure on the players’ lower body.

Are football clubs currently concerned?

Right now, there is very little in concerns for players’ safety regarding the use of the Desso pitch as they are yet to be used in the likes of the Premier League. Some managers have of course been very vocal about their thoughts of the pitch, clubs such as Leicester have instead implemented a more focused pitch maintenance and measurement system that hopefully will lead to accurate information regarding the long term future of football pitches.

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