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If the NFL cares deeply about participant security, then why are groups nonetheless taking part in on synthetic turf?


Rashan Gary

Rashan Gary
Photograph: Getty Pictures

Within the inherently violent contact sport of soccer, there’s solely a lot that may be finished to make the sport secure. Guaranteeing the security of its gamers needs to be the No. 1 concern for any soccer league, particularly the NFL. Over the previous decade, the league’s favourite slogan has been “participant security.”

They’ve finished a greater job of defending gamers in sure phases of the sport, like eliminating many huge hits like those that have been as soon as featured on ESPN’s “Jacked Up” phase. The NFL has finished every little thing in need of putting crimson follow jerseys on quarterbacks to guard their headliners from pointless hurt. Even with particular provisions in place, it’s nonetheless soccer, and gamers will get damage.

Whereas head trauma is without doubt one of the greatest issues within the recreation, decrease extremity accidents are additionally frequent. We frequently see gamers get damage by planting awkwardly with nobody inside 5 yards of them. These accidents normally occur in stadiums with synthetic turf. Inexperienced Bay Packers veteran linebacker De’Vondre Campbell just lately posted on Instagram about how harmful taking part in on synthetic turf may be.

“That is two weeks in a row we’ve had gamers get injured on turf fields. I believe it’s time y’all take among the cash y’all make off us and spend money on grass fields for each workforce across the league. The turf is actually like concrete it has no give if you plant @NFL”

Campbell illustrates a fantastic level. Why are NFL groups nonetheless taking part in on pretend grass in 2022? If the league cares a lot concerning the security of gamers, you’d suppose they might’ve finished away with turf years in the past. Or possibly the NFL solely cares about accidents that might land them in court docket, like concussions.

For the NFL and its workforce’s homeowners, it’s all about cost-cutting the place they will to maximise profitability. Keep in mind that the NFL is a enterprise. Synthetic turf is simpler and cheaper to maintain up than pure grass. The sport strikes sooner on turf, but when it’s detrimental to participant security, it isn’t value it.

Fourteen NFL stadiums nonetheless have turf, which accounts for 16 groups throughout the league taking part in house video games on the bogus floor. The Chargers and Rams share SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., whereas the Giants and Jets play at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. A research by College Hospitals Sports activities Drugs Institute discovered that athletes usually tend to undergo an damage on synthetic turf than on grass.

“They discovered athletes have been 58 % extra more likely to maintain an damage throughout athletic exercise on synthetic turf. Damage charges have been considerably larger for soccer,” the sports activities drugs institute said. “Decrease extremity, higher extremity, and torso accidents have been additionally discovered to happen with the next incidence on synthetic turf.”

In 2020, NFLPA President JC Trotter, a retired middle who performed for the Packers and the Cleveland Browns, wrote a letter discussing the grass/turf debate.

In brief, NFL golf equipment ought to proactively change all area surfaces to pure grass. The NFL is a machine that chews gamers up and spits ‘em out when they’re completed sucking the life out of them. Sure, many are paid handsomely, however if you happen to’re not a coveted star QB, you’re simply expendable irrespective of how a lot expertise you possess or what number of touchdowns you’ve scored. In the event you blow out a knee, it’s at all times “subsequent man up.” There was a saying that you simply couldn’t lose your job as a result of damage.

That’s one of many greatest lies ever advised in soccer. Guys lose their beginning spots regularly as a result of they obtained damage, and the substitute got here in and performed effectively above their pay grade. In what’s grow to be probably the most notorious case of this, Tom Brady changed Drew Bledsoe for the Patriots in 2001, and the remaining is historical past. Kurt Warner additionally started a run for the St. Louis Rams that landed him within the Corridor of Fame after relieving Trent Inexperienced, who’d been injured in a preseason recreation.

So, it’s not uncommon that gamers get damage and by no means get their jobs again. If it occurs to soccer gamers on the most coveted place, then everybody else is greater than honest recreation. We’ve recognized how awful turf fields are and the way a lot gamers hated them for many years. The pretend surfaces right now are a bit higher than within the Nineteen Nineties, however we nonetheless hear complaints about how counterintuitive it’s to be taking part in on turf understanding the dangers.

Most gamers in all probability smirk once they see these campaigns the NFL runs about making the sport safer. And to the league’s credit score, they’ve made modifications to do exactly that. But it surely shouldn’t take litigation for them to care. That appears to be the one factor that will get the ball rolling for them to concentrate. The NFL had data on concussions for years earlier than they have been pressured to publicly acknowledge this as an actual menace to the sport.

No person would argue that knees, ankles, and toes accidents are as extreme as repeated blows to the top. However if you happen to declare your gamers’ well being is a high precedence, why not go the additional mile to make sure they will play so long as potential? Synthetic turf has been a nuisance to athletes for years, and the NFL ought to strive listening to its most dear asset generally as a substitute of regularly wanting within the different path. That’s, till it lands them in court docket.

We’re always bombarded with knowledge about how a lot these organizations are value and the way a lot cash the league brings in, that are billions every year. Spending more money to assist reduce down on some accidents as a result of horrible taking part in surfaces gained’t ship the NFL and its homeowners to the poor home anytime quickly.

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