Artificial Turf Affecting NFL Players and Their Health

Jonathan Liu, Sports Editor

As young athletes around the world sign up to play football, there’s always one catch: injuries. 

While injuries have been a part of sports for the longest time and specifically football, fans and players around the country are wondering if the playing surfaces could be affecting these injuries. 

Around the country, most of these football games are being played on artificial turf, for many reasons. 

Turf can resist three thousand hours of heavy foot traffic every year, compared to grass which can easily get worn down due to a lot of movement on the field. 

“Personally, I have only played on a grass field once and I enjoyed playing on it,” varsity football player and junior Niko Tsangaris said. 

“It felt like the surface made it easier on my feet and joints.” 

In the NFL, 16 out of the 30 teams play on natural grass surfaces, which may seem like a lot, but the players want it to be all 30. 

NFL players in recent months have taken their opinions to social media, trying to persuade owners to change their team’s playing surface to natural grass. 

“I’d rather practice in sleet, snow, thunderstorm with a chance of getting struck by lightning than run inside on the turf,” Kansas City Chief’s tight-end Travis Kelce said. 

“I believe that we and all the teams should be playing on grass,” LA Rams wide-receiver Cooper Kupp said.

“This is an age-old issue, and I believe the time to address the problem is now! Let’s have the conversation,” Kupp said.

These players’ concerns about playing surfaces have been backed up by studies performed recently. 

A study from 2012-2018 directed by the NFL stated that players have a 28% higher rate of non contact lower injuries when playing on artificial turf.  

Along with the 28% higher rate, NFL players have a 32% chance of suffering a non contact knee injury while playing on artifical turf. 

Additionally, up to 69% of foot and ankle injuries occur on turf fields opposed to natural grass. 

“I honestly prefer to play on turf, just because I haven’t played on grass in a while,” varsity football player and junior Luke Gayton said. 

“I think the difference with the NFL is that their turf is always going through new paint jobs and stuff like that so the surface is harder to play on,” Gayton said.