BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Fifteen NFL teams play their home games on artificial turf. Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter wants to see that number reduced to zero.
The NFL Players Association president cited the league’s official injury reports from 2012-2018 to state his case that natural grass fields provide a much lower risk for injuries, compared to artificial surfaces, during practices and games.
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.
“The data stands out and the numbers are staggering in the difference in injury rate,” Tretter said Wednesday. “We all should be working toward the safest style of play, and we know the dangers of playing on turf.
“It’s not good for players, it’s not good for the GMs and the head coaches, it’s not good for the owners and it’s not good for the fans. Increased injuries are not good for anybody.”
Tretter, who detailed the data in his monthly newsletter to union members, spoke extensively on the subject before Cleveland’s afternoon practice at its suburban training facility.
The seven-year veteran was elected NFLPA president on March 10 after winning a three-way election over Michael Thomas of the Giants and Sam Acho of the Buccaneers. He has strongly advocated for player safety while maintaining a diplomatic approach.
“Anecdotally, I know how my body responds playing on turf vers