Journal Published Online: 26 March 2013
Volume 41, Issue 3

A New Device for Simulating Athlete-to-Surface Interactions on Natural and Synthetic Turf



Non-contact athletic injuries are the result of forces generated during athlete-to-surface interactions. Associations between playing surface conditions and injury incidence have been reported and numerous devices have been used to measure the vertical and horizontal forces occurring during athlete-to-surface interactions. However, nearly all of these instruments evaluate horizontal and vertical force separately. The objectives of this research were to (1) develop the Tennessee Athletic Field Tester (TAFT), an instrument for evaluating natural and synthetic playing surfaces that simultaneously generates realistic, peak vertical and horizontal forces that occur during athlete-to-surface interactions; (2) compare the simultaneous, peak vertical and horizontal forces measured by TAFT to values measured by an in-ground force platform at three simulated athlete weights and rates of horizontal velocity; and (3) determine the optimal rate of horizontal velocity for each simulated athlete weight to facilitate comparisons to force platform data. Peak vertical and horizontal force data were collected while operating TAFT on a force platform. The experimental design was the factorial combination of three athlete weights (75 kg, 85 kg, and 95 kg) and three horizontal velocities (500 mm s−1, 750 mm s−1, and 1000 mm s−1). At 1000 mm s−1, peak vertical force values with TAFT were greater than or equal to those captured by the force platform and similar to those reported using human subjects of similar weight. All TAFT configurations generated peak horizontal forces greater than those measured on the force platform and higher than have been observed in human subject trials. TAFT is a new instrument that generates peak vertical and horizontal forces that occur during athlete-to-surface interactions that may allow researchers to better characterize the safety of natural and synthetic turf playing surfaces.

Author Information

Thoms, Adam
Plant Sciences, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, US
Brosnan, James
Plant Sciences, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, US
Paquette, Max
Health and Sport Sciences, Univ. of Memphis, Memphis, TN, US
Zhang, Songning
Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sports Studies, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, US
Sorochan, John
Plant Sciences, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, US
Pages: 7
Price: $25.00
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Stock #: JTE20120103
ISSN: 0090-3973
DOI: 10.1520/JTE20120103