Open wounds(Turf Burns) are the Gateway for MRSA and Staph-Must Read Studies
WEBER STATE UNIVERSITY STUDY ON BACTERIAL PATHOGENS
It so happens that a much more comprehensive research study was conducted in 2013 by Weber State University, “Determination of Microbial Populations in a Synthetic Turf System,” and the results of this research will make it clear that the Penn State study and heavily cited by turf manufacturers such as FieldTurf, needs to be questioned for the findings and conclusions. How this research study went unnoticed is hard to understand but now that it was brought to my attention by (Rockwood Turf FB page) I want to share the findings and the results re-enforce why I sell UVC equipment to protect athletes against Staph and MRSA, even though the artificial turf industry chooses to ignore the problem.
Jason Bass and David Hintze along with faculty mentor Karen Nakaoka, Ph.D., from Weber State University, compared two synthetic turf fields for the presence of dangerous bacterial pathogens (Staph). The research was to determine if an older field has increased numbers of harmful pathogens versus a new artificial field. Weber State sampled from a field that was a year old and one that was six years old. Unlike the 2008 research study by McNitt at the Penn State the research at Weber State University was a more realistic depiction of the happenings on artificial turf. I will highlight some key differences in both studies as to why the Weber State University research was better planned, better executed and provided a closer depiction of what is really happening on artificial turf fields across the country.
The Weber State study points out some shortcomings of the Penn State study and possible reasons as to why the Penn State study failed to acknowledge the dangers or presence of Staph on artificial turf fields. The Weber State study is very technical but I am going to highlight some of the key findings and some of the key comparisons to the Penn State study.
Who Funded the Studies?
Penn State study-Conducted at the SSRC, joint venture between FieldTurf and Penn State. Penn State Sports Surface Research Center (SSRC)
Weber State-Funded by Weber State and Weber State Microbial Department
Sample Size of Infill Material Being Tested
Penn State-.075 Grams (Why such a small sample?)
Weber State-10 Grams (More than 10 times the sample size than Penn State)
Collection Time Frame of Samples
Penn State-Just says between June 1 and June 15th, all of 15 days. Samples used were taken in 2006????
Weber State-Once a week for 14 weeks. Very controlled samples.
Location of Samples
Penn State-samples taken from “High Use” and “Low Use” areas, very general.
Weber State-1) Sideline, 2) 50 Yard Line and 3) end of field. 3 locations and same locations on both new and old field being sampled.
Time of Study
Penn State-Height of Summer when field temperatures were at the peak.
Weber State-Height of the Actual Football Season when the fields were in use.
Technical Issues of reasons why the Penn St study did not find Pathogens (Staph)
Penn State-Shortened agitation times for the samples (shortened time means less chance for full discovery of Pathogens, technical please read study)
Penn State-Failed to Isolate S. Aureus (Staph) on samples (read the study because this is technical)
Results-Highlights taken directly from studies
Penn State-“Staphylococcus aureus bacterium were not found on any of the playing surfaces” Smells like Roses
Weber State-“These results indicate that infill material can serve as a potential source for
the spread of bacterial pathogens among athletes and that these organisms seem to
accumulate over time posing a greater exposure risk if proper cleaning is not
You can read a more in-depth article on MRSA and STAPH and other links from Sports Turf Northwest HERE