As more of the population begin to recognise the benefits of sporting activity, there is a need for improved sports pitches which not only deliver increased access to sport, but also reduce the risk of injury.
With this in mind, Cranfield University’s Centre for Sports Surfaces, together with the University of Exeter’s Sports Science Department, is investigating how to improve the engineering of sports surfaces, such as those used for football and cricket, to minimise this injury risk while increasing both surface quality and longevity.
By investigating the integration between soil mechanics and human biomechanics, the project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, aims to develop a model to predict sports surface behaviour.
Dr Iain James, the project’s Principal Investigator, said: “I’m delighted this project has been funded, and I look forward to using the team’s innovative research to make a significant advance in the improvement of natural sports pitches.
“Our research will have wider implications and directly benefit UK industry, sports governing bodies and participants in sporting activity.”
Speaking about the research, David Winn, Training and Education Manager at the Institute of Groundmanship, said: “Any research that can add to the professionalism of the groundsman to produce safer and more consistent natural surfaces can only be good for the relevant sports and, more importantly, for the sportspeople involved, especially the younger children.”