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Many NFL Athletes are outraged

The issue of turf vs natural grass
Rams Wr Odell Beckham Jr. on the ground after suffering a non contact ACL tear
Saltwire sports
Rams Wr Odell Beckham Jr. on the ground after suffering a non contact ACL tear

From the TV or the stands, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between the stadiums and the surfaces that the games are played on, but players all around the league like George Kittle and Nick Bosa say there is a dangerous difference between artificial and natural fields.   

Ever since the NFL switched to AstroTurf in 1965 with the Houston Astrodome, the amount of non-contact injuries in the league has significantly increased. It is 32% more for non contact knee injuries, and 69% more for non contact ankl/ foot injuries.

We knew that the field felt kind of weird.”

— C.J. Uzomah

 Professional 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. On artificial surfaces, there is less give, meaning their feet, ankles and knees absorb the force, which makes injury more likely to follow. Although, when the grass gives it gets ripped up and becomes dirt, it absorbs some of the force. This can lead to field getting torn up and costing a lot of money to maintain.

NFL stadium Lambo field after one half of a game (Jeff Nowak The Advocate writer)

A notable name who has been injured, as a result of the turf, is Odell Beckham Jr. A wide receiver for the Los Angeles Rams, who tore his ACL in the super bowl while running a route over the middle of the field. Many players who played in the game like Bengals tight end, C.J. Uzomah has stated that the turf felt off with him saying “We knew that the field felt kind of weird. Like, the paint. The paint, they had to keep going over it in the middle of the field. So we kind of as a team, offensively, we were like, ‘Ayo, that’s the spot you gotta control yourself. You gotta be way more controlled, don’t run too full speed”.

Although, many players do not get a serious injury like Beckham and New York Jets Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, studies show that players whose home field is an artificial surface have shorter careers because of the stress on the lower body parts over the years of playing.

With the data of the increased injuries on the artificial surfaces, the NFLPA, or the National Football League Players Association, is calling for all NFL stadiums to switch to grass. NFLPA President JC Tretter stated:

Will the NFL make the switch as the players want, or allow teams to choose? (Icon_Sportswire_via_Getty_Images)

 “While we know there is an investment to making this change, there is a bigger cost to everyone in our business if we keep losing our best players to unnecessary injuries,” It makes no sense that stadiums can flip over to superior grass surfaces when the World Cup comes, or soccer clubs come to visit for exhibition games in the summer, but inferior artificial surfaces are acceptable for our own players. This is worth the investment and it simply needs to change now.” 

Of the 30 stadiums that are teams home stadiums in the NFL, 14 of them have artificial turf and in those stadiums there is 4.8% of injuries being non-contact compared to 2.5% of injuries being non contact on the 16 natural fields. 

The NFL is not the only sport who is having issues with artificial turf over grass. Studies show that even in the MLS (major league soccer) there is a higher chance of injury on turf which is why only 6 teams are now playing on turf as compared to 20 in 2000. 

If the NFL does not make a change, they risk losing major stars to injuries and losing money. Perhaps a change is coming soon because no company likes to lose money.

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About the Contributor
Ryan Doolin, Staff Reporter
Hello My name is Ryan and I'm a Junior at Sutton High. I play for the football team and the baseball team. I also enjoy going out with my friends and playing sports. I'm very excited to be able to be a writer on the Sutton high news web page and look forward to reporting around the school.

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