Assessing the possible risk of skin injuries on synthetic turf has come one step closer. Four World Rugby certified test institutes recently held a round robin to determine the replicability of a test and testing apparatus that has been developed over the past four years. Their feedback will now be used to fine-tune the apparatus and procedure.
Earlier this month, the test apparatus and protocol discussed in this article were subjected to a round robin at the Sports Labs offices in Scotland. The round robin was attended by test institutes Labosport, the Institute of Biomechanics of Valencia (IBV) and Ghent University (Ercat).
“We had five samples prepared, whose consistency was assessed prior to the test. Each sample had five iterations where the simulated player generated a horizontal and vertical velocity of 5 and 3 m/s, respectively,” explained Max McFarlane of test institute Sports Labs, who has been instrumental in developing the test apparatus and procedure. “After using the device, the labs all suggested they are happy with the motion profile and provided some comments on minor adaptations to improve the efficiency of the protocol. Initial results from the study are looking consistent, which is encouraging for getting the test method accepted as a new test method.”
The various test institutes conducted tests on five different samples. Before testing, the consistency of the samples was assessed by recording infill depths and shock absorbing properties.
The round robin lasted for three days. “After we had introduced the project and output data from the device, followed by training on how to prepare and operate the device, we tested both 60 mm carpets and filling as well as 45 mm systems. The abrasions generated were analysed and discussed on the final day as well as some minor improvements they suggested,” reported McFarlane.
The five samples that were subjected to the round robin consisted of both a 45mm and 60mm system with SBR infill as well as a 45mm and 60mm with cork infill. Furthermore, a sand dressed hockey surface was tested.
Sports Labs will use the feedback from the round robin to finalize the testing apparatus and protocol before it will be presented to World Rugby, which has funded the study. The information will also be shared with the international football governing body FIFA as well as the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
Like in rugby, football players’ perception of the likelihood of skin injuries is a major stumbling block that hinders acceptance of synthetic turf in football. On the other hand, FIH is interested, as it considers the testing apparatus and protocol as ‘important’ in its quest to develop a hockey turf that doesn’t require watering. Progress regarding this product is discussed in this article.