The playing surface at MetLife Stadium was in the spotlight the last couple of weeks after the 49ers complained about the quality of it in the wake of several lower body injuries during their Week Two game against the Jets.
A return visit to face the Giants in Week Three saw fewer injuries, but Browns center and NFLPA JC Tretter kept attention on NFL fields in a piece posted to the union’s website. Tretter called on all NFL teams to ditch artificial turf in favor of natural grass fields.
MetLife Stadium is one of 13 stadiums to use synthetic materials and Tretter writes that “players have a 32 percent higher rate of non-contact knee injuries on turf and a staggering 69 percent higher rate of non-contact foot/ankle injuries on turf compared to grass.” He added his belief the current certification process for artificial surfaces is “extremely limited in its ability to tell us about the performance or safety” of the product.
“The data stands out,” Tretter said during a Wednesday press conference, via ESPN.com. “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.”
Tretter said that moving to grass fields is something “we need to make a priority” in the years to come.