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Shocker: artificial turf can kill you!
By CHRIS DLAMINI - TIMES OF SWAZILAND-24-Jun-2009
MBABANE – In what may come as a shocker to the sporting fraternity, in particular football players, the Somhlolo National Stadium’s artificial turf could be fatally dangerous.
Artificial turfs, according to information sourced from the Internet where various researchers went out to find if there were any dangers of using artificial grass, findings reflect that artificial turfs in general, especially those that are sand infill carry prolific bacterial populations, which live in the fill and turf sand.
Because of the high temperatures the turf adapts, especially during hot days, players are at risk of suffering from heat stress injuries which are said to be potentially fatal. However, this can be avoided by users by applying certain precautions. These include; * Ensuring proper hydration * Allowing equipment modifi- cations * Changing practice schedules * Monitoring turf temperatures * Constantly cooling the turf. While this is hardly the case at the Somhlolo Stadium as teams usually use the pitch when it is not cooled even in high temperatures, players on such sporting surfaces also need to pay particular attention to hydration issues and allow frequent water breaks. Football teams practising on artificial turf may need to alter equipment requirements by removing pads or helmets on hot days. Changing practise schedules to early morning can ensure player safety in high temperatures. The study also suggests that there must be field managers who safeguard players by properly monitoring turf temperatures and cooling fields when necessary. Despite potentially fatal heat stress injuries, the turf also has various other health risk factors like the famous turf toe which Mbabane Highlanders player Mlungisi ‘Madzala’ Ngubane once fell victim to as he had blisters on the toes after playing on the turf. A number of other premier league players have complained about the high temperatures on the turf, with Manzini Wanderers’ midfielder Timothy ‘Timo’ Mathonsi also one of the few that have experienced health problems from the turf. It can also leave players with other muscle and ligament injuries while the also potentially fatal MRSA (Staphylococcus) infections and temperature-related injuries such as exertional heat illness and heat stroke remain serious medical issues of primary interest. MRSA infection cannot be treated with conventional antibiotics due to evolved drug resistance. A number of highly publicised methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections implicate artificial grass as a risk factor. Investigation of an outbreak of MRSA on a college football team in 2004 found that there was a seven-fold increase in risk of infection for players who had received abrasions playing on artificial turf. Sports teams can avoid turf-related MRSA infections by: *l Regularly disinfecting turf surfaces * Disinfecting even minor abrasions No immediate comment could be sought from the National Football Association of Swaziland (NFAS) as they were engaged in the FIFA Club Management Course at Orion Hotel, Pigg’s Peak. The Somhlolo turf was a FIFA donation to the country, which was viewed as an investment because it is all weather friendly.
Local doctor explains MRSA MBABANE – A local doctor who was asked to explain MRSA in simpler terms said it was a drug resistant bacterial infection which lives in every human’s skin. The doctor said MRSA stands for Methicilin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. “Every human being has it, but because it lives on the skin, it is harmless unless it find a way inside. That’s when it can cause serious problems as no prescription can help you.
“It’s usually found in hospital settings and places where the elderly and sickly are kept,” he said. He said no antibiotic could help one who had this infection as doctors may prescribe medication, but nothing works.
However, he explained that this infection could only be taken to the artificial turf by the people using it if they get cuts during sliding tackles and that is how it then finds its way into one’s body. He said it caused serious heart and lung problems among other things.
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