The student news site of Millbrook High School

Cat Talk

The student news site of Millbrook High School

Cat Talk

The student news site of Millbrook High School

Cat Talk

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Is it Safe for Football Players to Play on Turf?

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Star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. non-contact knee injury in the 2021-2022 Super Bowl. (The Insider)

  A question that has plagued football players at the high school, college, and professional levels in recent years is whether or not football organizations should use artificial turf or natural grass as the primary playing surface. While the NFL claims artificial turf is the safer of the two options, scientists continue to study that notion. To determine that answer, you have to take into account a multitude of factors, such as the weather, age, physical health, and type of turf.

   With names like Aaron Rodgers, Cam Akers, Daniel Jones, Jaelan Phillips, and many more going down just this year to noncontact turf leg/foot injuries, the players union of the NFL is fighting for the switch back to grass. After Phillip’s most recent Achilles injury, he encouraged other players to speak out about the risks of playing on turf, and within the next 24 hours many players including teammate Raheem Mostert shared their distaste with turf, going as far as calling the Jet’s turf field “trash.” Studies show that foot, ankle, and knee injuries are more prevalent on turf rather than grass. Hip and other miscellaneous body injuries throughout the NFL are similarly comparable to grass but, more specifically when looking at the facts, from 2012-2016 there are 16 percent more injuries per play on turf and 20 percent more non-contact injuries. That means the NFL would have 319 fewer injuries in that period if grass only was used. 

  The research the NFL claims to use is not publically released, and the company “IQVIA” which manages the data has denied multiple attempts to release said information. This controversial decision to withhold data, coupled with the NFL’s attempts to change rules and not check poor officiating to reduce other injuries not relating to the outlying issue, has caused the NFL to lose credibility with players and fans. 

  These same issues apply to high school football and other professional leagues where ACL tears throughout all sports and different leagues are 1.6 times more likely to occur on turf rather than grass. Locally, high school football star Jayden Ferguson had just suffered a severe ankle injury in their most recent playoff loss to Cardinal Gibbons on their home turf stadium. 

  “I think that turf fields are impractical. Every time you play on a turf field you are guaranteed to slip in some form or fashion. This is what happened to me in my final game of the season. I slipped running and tried to catch myself, resulting in torn ligaments and surgery. I think it is a lot better to play on grass because it’s safer and is easier to get a grip,” Ferguson said. 

  A significant factor of these common high school injuries comes from improper cleats being used and not being acclimated to the feel of an artificial stadium. This leaves a question mark for coaches in trying to ensure the safety of their players at all levels of the game. What is there to do to battle against these odds? Or should these turf fields even be available to play on? While it may save money and time for executives in charge, fans, and players must decide at what point people and their injuries are worth enough to make the change.

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