Cleveland Browns starting center Tretter wrote in a newspaper that players have a 28% higher rate of nonconnect less extreme injuries when playing on artificial turf than grass. Tretter cited NFL injury data collected from 2012 to 2018, saying that those rates are even higher for noncontact knee injuries (32%) and noncontact foot and ankle injuries (69%) than grass.
“The data stands out,” Tretter said Wednesday during videoconferencing with the media. “Those numbers are staggering, the difference in injury rate between turf and natural grass. It’s possible to get grass in every location, and it’s about pushing for it. We all work towards the safest style of play. Must do. Playing on turf. It’s not good for anyone. It’s not good for players. It’s not good for GMs and head coaches. It’s not good for owners. It’s not good for fans. The increase in injuries is not good for anyone.
“Until we can find a way to get synthetic turf to react and react like natural grass, there is a lot of danger to continue playing and hoping on different results.”
Currently, 13 NFL stadiums use artificial turf.
San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and his players had expressed concern about the turf at MetLife Stadium, where the Niners had recently lost a number of players, including quarterback Jimmy Garrappolo and Defensive & Nick Bosa. MetLife is home to the Jets and Giants.
Tretter said the “committee of engineers” has been tasked to examine the surfaces of the area. Tretter also advocated an improved diet for surface testing, noting that the Clegg Impact Tester currently used by the league measures surface hardness, “but not for performance and safety.”
He said teams should not use climate or indoor stadiums as an excuse not to apply grass, given that many cold weather teams, including the Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers, Use grass, and natural grass despite hackers playing indoors in the Arizona Cardinals and Las Vegas.
“Player safety will always be a priority for us and the association,” Tretra said. “… This is something from here that we need to make it a priority.”