CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – The debate between grass and turf fields has become a topic of discussion since Jets Quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a season-ending injury in week one of the NFL season.
The players union is calling for all the league to go to all grass fields. But is it safer to play on grass fields, and for youth sports, should we be looking at the same?
Earlier this month, the NFLPA renewed its push to the league to switch to all grass fields in the name of avoiding injury. The union saying it should be an easy decision, but is it?
There are pros and cons to playing on either field.
In youth sports, kids switch between the two types of fields frequently. The recent talk about turf safety has brought a light to sports at the high school and even college levels.
First News spoke with a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician about the pros and cons at these levels. She says as long as athletes take certain precautions, they can best avoid injury.
“Making sure you that you have the right shoes and the right cleats. Those are the biggest preventative things you can do; that student athletes can do,” said Dr. Megan Teeples, a rehabilitation physician at Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital.
Dr. Teeples also says to make sure to continue stretching to avoid injuries to ligaments and other muscles. She also says that there is no data right now that says that switching between field types increases your risk for injury.
The NFLPA has shown with their own data that the turf fields have had an increase in non-contact injuries to mainly the ankles and knees, but there wasn’t much data to prove that it increased risk of contact injuries.
There are ways that injury can be prevented, regardless of field types. Dr. Teeples says as long as players have proper shoes and stretch, they can best avoid injuries.
As for pros, well a major one has less to do with the players themselves, but the facility.
“It’s not so much a player benefit, but the turf does cost less money to maintain. It doesn’t freeze, which in Ohio can be a big benefit. If it is really rainy one day and there’s practice or a game the next day, there’s not like scheduling issues that have to happen because you have to avoid the grass field because of all the mud, things like that,” said Dr. Teeples.
She says there isn’t any data showing that switching frequently between turf and grass makes any impact either.
But as we’ve seen, injuries with athletes can happen at any time. As for now, the NFL and youth sports at home will continue to play on turf.