The sight of players slipping and sliding on the natural grass field in Cleveland last Sunday was comical to some, disturbing to others. After all, it was only the first day of November, yet a wintry blast had hit the NFL.
As the calendar moves forward and Mother Nature does her thing, the quality of the playing surfaces will come into play more and more. Sure, that doesn’t seem like a big deal for indoor facilities using synthetic turf such as Houston or Indianapolis or Minnesota. But, as a 2019 study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine points out, “playing on artificial turf increases the risk of lower body injury and that field surface has a causal effect on injury rates due to synthetic turf’s lack of ability to release an athlete’s shoe.”
And Browns center JC Tretter, president of the players’ union, has called for all NFL stadiums to put in natural grass fields; this season, 17 stadiums have it, while 13 have synthetic surfaces.
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