Recently, a group of researchers reviewed studies on the subject. They examined 53 articles published between 1972 and 2020 on injuries in professional and amateur sports, including football, rugby, field hockey and ultimate frisbee. The authors did not specify whether the studies included injuries involving a direct hit from another player, or just non-contact injuries.
Studies suggest “a higher rate of foot and ankle injuries on artificial turf.”, both legacy and new generation turf, compared to natural turf,” they wrote in an article published last year in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. The knee and hip injuries were similar on both surfaces, they wrote. The authors noted that studies reporting a higher rate of injuries on turf received financial support from the artificial turf industry.
Similar results were reported in a separate paper study which analyzed 4,801 foot and leg injuries in the NFL during 2012-2016 regular season games. This research found 16% more injuries per match on artificial turf compared to grass. The authors concluded that if all matches had been played on grass during this period, there would have been 319 fewer foot and leg injuries. Looking only at non-contact injuries, the risk was even higher, at around 20% more injuries per game.