Citing a greater chance to incur a noncontact lower extremity injury, NFL Players Association president and Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter is calling on all NFL teams to change all field surfaces to natural grass to reduce the risk of injury to players, according to ESPN’s Jake Trotter.
Tretter stated in a newsletter (posted on the official website of the NFLPA) that players have a 28% higher rate of noncontact lower extremity injuries when playing on artificial turf compared with grass. Tretter said that those rates are even higher for noncontact knee injuries (32%) and noncontact foot and ankle injuries (69%) on turf compared with grass.
“The data stands out,” Tretter said. “Those numbers are staggering, the difference in injury rate in turf and natural grass. It’s possible to get grass in every location, and it’s about pushing for that. We all should be working toward the safest style of play. We know the dangers of playing on turf. That’s not good for anybody. Not good for players. It’s not good for the GMs and the head coaches. It’s not good for the owners. It’s not good for the fans. Increased injures is not good for anybody.
“Until we can find a way to get synthetic turf to respond and react like natural grass, it’s too much of a danger to play on and expect different results.”
As it stands right now, 13 NFL stadiums currently use artificial turf.
“This is something from here on out we need to make a priority,” Tretter said. “Players safety will always be a priority for us and the union.”