|Title||A review of turfgrass sports field variability and its implications on athlete–surface interactions|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2020|
|Authors||Straw, CM, Samson, CO, Henry, GM, Brown, CN|
Natural turfgrass sports fields can be highly variable depending on construction, usage, and management. Research involving athlete–surface interactions often fails to thoroughly account for variability by grouping these fields into the single category of “natural turfgrass.” This can obscure results and make it difficult to identify specific field characteristics that most strongly influence athletes, making it almost impossible to implement strategies for improvement. The purpose of this literature review was to highlight the between‐ and within‐field variations of turfgrass sports fields and their influence on athlete–surface interactions. The components of turfgrass sports fields and common methods used to objectively quantify surface characteristics in situ are discussed. Then, current literature is reviewed that involves several athlete–surface interactions under a variety of turfgrass sports field scenarios. It was found that turfgrass surface characteristics generally influence athlete biomechanics, performance and physiology, perceptions, and injury occurrence. To better interpret and compare findings, it is recommended that future studies fully describe field characteristics and management practices. Consistency with field and athlete data collection methods, analysis, and reporting are also important. Athlete–surface interaction research incorporating new technologies; addressing athlete performance, physiology, and psychological aspects; and investigating athletes other than professionals is also needed. These recommendations are more likely to happen with increased collaboration between turfgrass scientists, sports turf managers, sports scientists, and sports medicine clinicians. Ultimately, the goal would be to develop evidence‐based guidelines for turfgrass sports field management that improve the overall athlete experience under an assortment of turfgrass sports field scenarios.