Are athletes playing on a synthetic turf more susceptible to MRSA/staph infections?

MRSA and other staph infections strike due to poor hygiene, regardless of type of playing surface. That’s because it is spread by people in close contact with each other, like athletic team members, healthcare providers and patients, children in day care centers, military recruits, firefighters, and many other groups. Recent studies are in agreement. A California EPA report dated July 2009 stated “it is unlikely that the new generation of artificial turf is itself a source of MRSA.”


A Penn State University study released in January 2009 found there was no difference in survival rates of staph on natural grass and synthetic turf surfaces. In addition, it stated that synthetic turf is not a hospitable environment for microbial activity such as staph. The issue goes beyond abrasions, since athletes can get cuts on any playing field – from the most well-manicured or dirt-compacted natural grass to state-of-the-art synthetic turf fields that are regularly irrigated and cleaned.

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