A needed solution
How can we possibly fix the injury issues players are having while playing on turf? Well, how about going back to the old fashioned natural grass?
A total of 15 NFL teams play on artificial turf, and the NFLPA is determined to bring that number down to zero. Will the owners grant their wish?
NFLPA president JK Tretter had a lot of data backing up his reasoning as to why the NFL should eliminate all turf fields. It shows how much more likely a player is to be injured on turf compared to natural grass.
"“The analysis shows that players have a 28% overall higher rate of non-contact lower extremity injuries on turf. Non-contact knee injuries occur at a 32% higher clip and non-contact foot or ankle injuries are 69% percent more likely on artificial fields.”"
With that in mind, most players should be in favor of having natural grass fields. Having grass fields would mean fewer injuries, which means fewer health issues and more money. It’s a complete win for the players.
It may not be that easy to convince NFL owners to switch their fields to natural grass. That is likely due to the cost of maintaining the grass, along with the pains of transitioning over.
In maintaining turf, all you really need to do is set it in place and have the markings in their correct spots. From there, you clean it every here and there, and you enjoy the rest of the season.
Natural grass requires water and sunlight. That can be an issue for stadiums that do not open, but it is not impossible.
The Arizona Cardinals’ stadium, The University of Phoenix Stadium, has a field that can roll outside the building. In doing this, sunlight is no longer an issue.
There are different options a team would have to fit in a natural field. AT&T stadium already has a retractable roof, so sunlight isn’t an issue. Owner Jerry Jones has the budget to hire workers to maintain the natural field.
The benefits of making a move to natural grass are much more than people realize. Fewer injuries mean more money and entertainment for everyone.
Returning to natural fields is inevitable. Between the data obtained by the NFLPA and the benefits, it is only a matter of time. Had this been put in place sooner, who knows where Dallas would stand today?