NFLPA president Tretter: NFL needs all grass surfaces
NFL Players Association president JC Tretter is calling on the NFL to change all its field surfaces to natural grass.
Tretter, a center for the Cleveland Browns, cited injury risk as the main reason for the request in his newsletter posted Wednesday on the NFLPA website. He used data from 2012-18 to show players have a 28 percent higher rate of suffering a noncontact lower extremity injury when playing on artificial turf as opposed to grass.
Tretter wrote the rate is 32 percent for noncontact knee injuries and 69 percent for noncontact ankle injuries on turf compared to grass.
“The data stands out,” Tretter said Wednesday during a video call. “Those numbers are staggering, the difference in injury rate between turf and natural grass. It’s possible to get grass in every location, and it’s about pushing for that. We all should be working toward the safest style of play. We know the dangers of playing on turf. That’s not good for anybody. It’s not good for players. It’s not good for the GMs and the head coaches. It’s not good for the owners. It’s not good for the fans. Increased injuries isn’t good for anybody.
“Until we can find a way to get synthetic turf to respond and react like natural grass, it’s too much of a danger to continue to play on and expect different results.”
Tretter’s call for grass fields comes after the San Francisco 49ers lodged complaints about MetLife Stadium, home of both the New York Jets and Giants. MetLife has a synthetic turf surface.
In Week 2, the 49ers lost defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas to season-ending ACL injuries. In addition, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered an ankle injury and running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman sustained knee injuries.
The field was inspected by the NFL, NFLPA and other entities within days of the contest and was ruled safe as well as meeting league standards.
Still, Tretter wants to see an end to artificial turf surfaces. Currently, there are 13 stadiums — housing 15 teams — using a turf field.
“Players safety will always be a priority for us and for the union,” Tretter said. “… It’s something from here on out we need to make a priority.”
–Field Level Media