Artificial Turf: Cancers Among Players

Cancers among soccer players who have played on synthetic turf and reported their cancers to U of Washington associate women’s soccer coach Amy Griffin.

The percentage of goalies continues to be an important factor, as is the number of blood cancers. What is of interest in these numbers is: (1) the number of blood cancers that the players have gotten versus other cancers. Some blood cancers are sensitive to environmental toxins; (2) the largest number of cancers among players is among the goalies — the most heavily exposed to the crumb rubber on the synthetic turf fields; and (3) these cancer numbers only include those players who have gotten cancer and have known to contact Amy with their cancer case. That data could be anywhere from 10% to 90% of all the cancers among those players who have played on synthetic turf fields.

Even if people dispute the total number of cancer cases——and no one actually knows how many of the cancer cases ever get reported to Amy——one cannot discount the number of affected goalies. Goalies are the most exposed players on a soccer team and the data shows that they are the most affected.

What about the ovarian cancers in young women? Lung cancers are usually very rare in young people. Again, we thank Amy for keeping this list.

Amy Griffin's Cancer List as of March 2018
Total Number of Cases of Cancer
253 total athletes with cancer
120 females
133 males
Of the total number, 155 are blood cancers or 62%

On average, goalkeepers account for 10% of a soccer team—yet of the 201 soccer players with cancer, 116 are goalkeepers, or 58%

Number of Cases by Cancer, Soccer and Goalkeeper

101 Lymphomas (Hodgkin's and Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas combined)
75 soccer players, 38 are goalkeepers or 51%

Of the 101 lymphoma cases, 68 had Hodgkin's lymphoma
51 soccer players, 26 are goalkeepers or 51%

Of the 101 lymphoma cases, 35 had Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
26 soccer players, 12 are goalkeepers or 46%

55 Leukemia
46 soccer players, 31 are goalkeepers or 67%

31 Sarcoma (soft tissue cancer)
22 soccer players, 9 are goalkeepers or 41%

15 Testicular
12 soccer players, 7 are goalkeepers or 58%

11 Thyroid
10 soccer players, 8 are goalkeepers or 80%
ALL females
All between ages 16-26

10 Brain
ALL soccer players, 6 are goalkeepers or 60%

4 Ovarian
ALL soccer players, 1 is a goalkeeper or 25%
Their ages are 14, 15, 23 and 34

3 Lung
ALL soccer players, 3 are goalkeepers or 100%
Their ages are 19, 26, and 27