NFL Players Association President JC Tretter calls on NFL teams to change all surfaces of the court to natural grass to reduce the risk of player injury.
Tretter, the Cleveland Browns’ starting center, wrote in a newsletter that players have a 28% higher rate of non-contact lower extremity injuries when playing on artificial turf compared to grass. Tretter, citing NFL injury data collected from 2012 to 2018, added that these rates are even higher for non-contact knee injuries (32%) and non-contact foot and ankle injuries (69%). on the lawn compared to the grass.
“The data stands out,” Tretter said on Wednesday during a video conference with the media. “These numbers are astounding, the difference in injury rates between turf and natural grass. You can get grass everywhere, and it̵
“Until we can find a way to make artificial turf respond and react like natural turf, it’s too dangerous to keep playing and expect different results.”
Currently, 13 NFL stadiums use artificial grass.
San Francisco 49ers manager Kyle Shanahan and his players had expressed concern about the ground at MetLife Stadium, where the Niners recently lost several players, including quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and defender Nick Bosa, to injuries. MetLife is the home of the Jets and Giants.
Tretter said a “committee of engineers” was assigned to examine the surfaces of the field. Tretter also argued for a better regime for surface testing, noting that the Clegg Impact Tester currently used by the alloy measures the hardness of a surface, “but not for performance and safety.”
He said teams shouldn’t use indoor weather or stadiums as an excuse not to implement grass, as several cold weather teams, including the Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Green Bay Packers, use grass, and the Arizona Cardinals and Las Vegas Raiders have natural grass despite playing indoors.
“Player safety will always be a priority for us and for the union,” said Tretter. “… From here on out it’s something we need to make a priority.”