Why do teams still use turf?

Aaron Rodgers getting injured on the 4th play of the season
Aaron Rodgers getting injured on the 4th play of the season

Seeing New York Jets Quarterback Aaron Rodgers tear his achilles on the 4th play of the entire season for his new team, it raised a lot of questions on why football teams continue to use turf fields instead of protecting athletes.

According to a study done by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, athletes were 58% more likely to sustain an injury on turf than on normal grass. Out of the 30 stadiums in the NFL, 15 of them are turf, meaning 17 out of the 32 teams use turf as their home stadium. 

Turf causes more injuries because it is absorbing less energy from your body than grass does, meaning that the athlete’s feet, ankles and knees absorb the force. 

There are some conveniences for turf. It is a very resilient surface, meaning that it can survive through several types of weather. It can also hold many other sporting events, like soccer, baseball, and field hockey. 

Turf fields are more expensive to maintain and keep in good condition, but having turf fields leads to revenue. Football stadiums that are turf hold soccer games, which brings in tons of more revenue.

Numerous NFL players have voiced their concerns, including Los Angeles Rams Wide Receiver, Cooper Kupp. “I believe that we, and all teams, should be playing on grass,” Kupp stated.

Houston Texans Tight End, Dalton Schultz stated, “our union and the league agree that we should eliminate slit film turf. The NFL isn’t willing to mandate this change, so we as players are going to keep talking about this issue until it changes.

Star defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers Nick Bosa also agrees. “NFL says they care about player safety yet they can’t put us on a natural surface.”

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabe Davis said, “Here’s a chance to show that player health is top priority. There’s no reason to be playing on turf!”

Defensive end for the Atlanta Falcons Calais Campbell stated “The fields can be changed and ready for play in days. This is a no brainer!” 

 It seems like there’s a consensus around the entire league that all types of turf need to go. Not one player seems to rather play on turf than grass.

With the outcry of the NFL community, the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) president, JC Tretter, called a ban on slit-film turf, but that is just one type of turf. Slit-film turf is only in one stadium, and that is Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. 

The NFLPA has no plans to get rid of turf fields anytime soon, despite the backlash from the players. With the data, the players don’t understand why the NFL puts money ahead of their health.

This leads to why highschools continue to use turf instead of grass. It really helps hold numerous different types of sporting events, like football, soccer, field hockey and lacrosse. 

High school athletes also aren’t nearly as strong and physical as professional athletes, so there is a lower risk of them getting injured than the professionals. But even with that, the risk of injury is still at a greater rate.

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