NFL Players Promote Change For Natural Grass Fields
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NFL Players Promote Change For Natural Grass Fields

NFL players around the league are promoting a petition to ban artificial turf fields for players safety

NFL Players Promote Change For Natural Grass Fields

Los Angeles Rams superstar wide out Odell Beckham Jr tore his ACL during the Super Bowl on a non-contact play. Many people believe it is because of the artificial turf fields and the stories and statistics on the topic support that idea. A petition to change all artificial turf fields to grass was created by the Pennington Grass Seed company. There are many players who have signed the petition and are reaching out to the community to make it more well known.

Six hours before the Super Bowl even started, San Francisco 49ers superstar George Kittle tweeted about the turf fields. His tweet read, “I’ve been saying, artificial turf feels like playing on cement. It's time to play smarter, not harder!” along with a link to the online petition. Kittle’s teammate Nick Bosa also tweeted about changing the artificial fields to grass fields to help keep players safe. Bosa has experience with injruies on turf fields. Back in Week 2 of the 2020 season, Bosa tore his ACL at the New York Giants MetLife Stadium, which has a turf field. 2020 was a rough year for the San Francisco 49ers. Key players of their team suffered injuries throughout the season, some of which were season-ending. Defensive lineman Solomon Thomas tore his ACL, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Raheem Mostert suffered leg injuries as well, all of these happeneing in the 2020 season on turf fields. Even 49ers general manager John Lynch hoped the league would start switching to turf fields.

The statistics behind the issue are just more confirmation that there are changes that are needed. They show that players are less likely to get hurt on grass fields. The National Football League Players Association has collected data on injuries suffered on artificial fields for a few year now. One study was based on injuries from 2012 to 2018, they came to the conclusion that “artificial turf is significantly harder on the body than grass.” But the real eye opener was the statistics on non-contact injuries. Players have a 28% higher rate of lower extremity non-contact injuries while on artificial turf. Going more in depth, players have a 32% higher rate of non-contact knee injuries and a 69% higher rate of non-contact ankle and knee injuries while on artificial turf.

There are currently 16 teams that play their home games on artificial turf fields. Two fields are shared by two teams, the New York Giants and New York Jets at Metlife Stadium and the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. That means there are a majority of games played every week on artificial turf fields. That doesn’t even account for the practice fields that any team may have. Both the NFL and NFLPA have reached out to artificial turf manufacturers and cleat manufacturers to find a way to make conditions safer for the players. But they both agree that for the time being, teams should go the route of natural grass fields. All fields are regulated and evaluated, but with the way the game is played today, there is a need for change in regulations and rules to keep the players safe.

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