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Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

Turf fields causing NFL injury issues

Ben Cantrell

Whether you are a fan, player, coach, or front office personnel, we can all agree that injuries are the worst part of football. Fans want to watch their favorite player but sometimes it is just not possible. It is an unfortunate part of the game but injuries are unavoidable. No matter what safety precautions the NFL takes, players will still end up hurt.

While we can’t completely stop injuries from occurring, we can reduce the amount and the severity of injuries. The best way to do this is by doing away with artificial turf fields.

Seventeen out of 32 NFL teams use turf fields at home throughout the season, while another two use a mix of turf and natural grass. It is a problem that this many teams play on turf, as it is much more dangerous than natural grass.

The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) has been vocal in this issue. Between releasing full statements to the NFL or tweeting a simple sentence, it is basically unanimous that something needs to be done.

“Football players put extremely high levels of force and rotation onto the playing surface. Grass will eventually give, which often releases the cleat prior to reaching an injurious load,” JC Tretter, former NFL Center and president of the NFLPA, said on the NFLPA website. “On synthetic surfaces, there is less give, meaning our feet, ankles and knees absorb the force, which makes injury more likely to follow.”

On top of that, artificial turf is significantly harder than natural grass. A harder playing surface leads to an increase in concussions, ACL tears, and foot/ankle injuries.

“Based on NFL injury data collected from 2012 to 2018, not only was the contact injury rate for lower extremities higher during practices and games held on artificial turf, but NFL players consistently experienced a much higher rate of non-contact lower extremity injuries on turf compared to natural surfaces,” said Tretter.

The NFLPA brought up that cleats are not designed to be used on artificial turf. Cleats use long studs that can easily get caught in turf and risk injury. The NFLPA challenged cleat manufacturers to create a cleat that is safer and tailored to players’ needs and specific surfaces.

The NFLPA concluded with the point that grass fields are possible anywhere. Multiple teams have made grass fields work indoor and outdoor, in cold and hot weather, and in wet and dry climates.

NFL players came to the consensus that MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants and Jets, is the worst field in the league. In an anonymous poll, MetLife earned 18% of the vote for worst stadium. Fans would agree, as many of our favorite players suffered season-ending injuries in recent years like Aaron Rodgers, Jaelan Phillips, and Nick Bosa.

With the research we have today, it makes no sense that anyone would want to keep turf fields. “For players, we can be stronger advocates for ourselves by continuing to demand safer standards,” said Tretter. “For coaches and general managers, building a successful team is much easier with a healthy roster. For NFL owners, any decision shown to protect their most important investments — the players — should be a no-brainer. In short, NFL clubs should proactively change all field surfaces to natural grass.’

It seems everybody in touch with the subject is pleading for this change. Player safety should be the #1 concern on everyone’s mind but no action is being taken. Something needs to be done. Soon.

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About the Contributor
Ben Cantrell, Sports Editor
If you are reading this, you are in the presence of greatness. This is Ben Cantrell. He is a junior here at GRC, and his favorite things to do are play sports, watch sports, and talk about sports. Who could guess that his favorite thing about GRC are the sports. One thing about Ben is he can not be scared by people. The only person who scares him is a person holding a snake. Besides that, he is very lighthearted and a fun person to be around. Ben is excited about his future in this well-respected program and knows he can make an impact (probably something to do with sports.)

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