Soccer Cancer Numbers Increase

A September tire crumb cancer update compiled by Amy Griffin, soccer coach at the Uni­versity of Washington, reported 248 athletes (117 female, 131 male) who played on synthetic turf have gotten cancer; 155 are blood cancers. She said of the 196 soccer players with cancer 115 were goalkeepers.

Ten months ago the report was 186 players with cancer (116 blood cancers) and 62 percent were keepers, Griffin said.

Keepers are the most heavily exposed to synthetic turf, Griffin said. “During a practice they easily hit the ground more than 100 times and are covered in those tire crumb dots,” she added. Teams usually have 1-2 keepers.

Average age of soccer players reporting cancer, Griffin noted, was 20-21 years old, from a low of 14 to oldest 34.

There were 75 soccer players reported with either Hodgkin’s Lymphoma or non-Hodg­kin’s Lymphomas, 38 are goalkeepers. There were 45 soccer players who have gotten Leu­kemias. In the general population there are usually more Leukemias than Lymphomas.

Bob Conroy contributed to this report.