Rubber matting on an obstacle course causes anterior cruciate ligament ruptures and its removal eliminates them

Rodney P. Pope*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In June 1998, six unexpected anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) ruptures within 12 months were detected by routine injury surveillance in a cohort of Australian Army recruits. Local investigation, reported separately as a Case Report in this issue, suggested the cause to be an excessive coefficient of friction between rubber boot soles and newly laid rubber matting on one obstacle course, creating excessive knee torques. The matting was removed progressively, but not before two more ruptures occurred on one remaining section. In this retrospective study, X2 analyses were used to compare the incidence of ACL rupture in prehazard, hazard-exposed, and postintervention cohorts, and the average costs to the institution of each ACL rupture were determined. Zero, eight, and zero ACL ruptures occurred in the prehazard, hazard-exposed, and postintervention cohorts, respectively (X2 > 4.75 for 1 df, p < 0.03 for each change in incidence). The temporal relationships between hazard introduction or removal and changes in the incidence of ACL rupture were strong. The average institutional cost of each ACL rupture was AU$54,627 or US$34,322. Rubber matting on obstacle courses increases the risk of ACL rupture in the presence of speed and rubber-soled footwear. Routine injury surveillance and simple preventive processes save money and personnel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-358
Number of pages4
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


Cite this