BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s been just over a week since the Super Bowl, a game in which Rams WR Odell Beckham Jr. is believed to have torn his ACL, again.
Sixteen of the 32 NFL teams play on artificial turf. And the majority of NFL players think it’s what causes lower-body injuries, like Odell’s. They’re petitioning to ban it.
In the past few decades, we’ve seen many stadiums switch to turf, including schools across the Valley like Boardman.
There are also many others, and now because of this petition, people are questioning if turf or natural grass is safer.
According to the petition, turf causes 28% more noncontact lower body injuries, 32% more noncontact knee injuries and 69% more noncontact foot and ankle injuries.
WKBN spoke with a local doctor, Dr. Aaron Sweeney of Akron Children’s Hospital, who thinks the NFL has a case based on its numbers, but he says some studies aren’t as clear and they’ve changed over the years. The NFL does a lot of its own research.
He says when you look at other sports, they didn’t find a significant difference between the two.
It said the data also doesn’t seem to be clear in lower-level sports like college and high school,
but he thinks there could be some reasons behind that.
“Sometimes, the turf in the NFL could be so good that it really doesn’t have a lot of give in it and players are likely to get their foot stuck. Also, those NFL players are playing with a lot higher forces in general, whether that’s directional change, muscle mass, etc.,” Sweeney said.
He says he hasn’t seen a direct relation to grass and turf in our area because it varies to who is playing and who is playing on what. Sweeney did mention some things to keep in mind for players playing on both grass and turf.
“And buying cleats that they’re approved just being aware and when you’re buying cleats making sure you’re looking into whether or not they’re approved for turf and not just grass. You don’t want to get too stuck, and that’s a little bit of what happened with Odell in the Super Bowl. If you watch that injury, his foot just really got stuck in the turf and didn’t slide forward as it may have on grass and that’s where a lot of this concern came from,” Sweeney said.