NFLPA calls for ‘moving all stadium fields’ to natural grass in wake of Aaron Rodgers’ season-ending injury –

The subject of playing surfaces in the NFL has again become a hot topic following Aaron Rodgers’ season-ending Achilles injury on Monday night. Many are blaming the turf at MefLife Stadium for injuring one of the biggest stars in the game, and now, new NFLPA executive director Lloyd Howell is calling for action.

On Wednesday, Howell released a statement calling for all NFL stadiums to move to grass fields. Here’s his statement in its entirety:

“Moving all stadium fields to high quality natural grass surfaces is the easiest decision the NFL can make.

“The players overwhelmingly prefer it and the data is clear that grass is simply safer than artificial turf. It is an issue that has been near the top of the players’ list during my team visits and one I have raised with the NFL.

“While we know there is an investment to making this change, there is a bigger cost to everyone in our business if we keep losing our best players to unnecessary injuries. It makes no sense that stadiums can flip over to superior grass surfaces when the World Cup comes, or soccer clubs come to visit for exhibition games in the summer, but inferior artificial surfaces are acceptable for our own players. This is worth the investment and it simply needs to change now.”

Howell is echoing what many NFL players have been saying this week. Rodgers’ teammate, Jets cornerback D.J. Reed, posted on social media Tuesday that all stadiums need real grass. Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari was quick to social media following Rodgers’ injury on Monday night, saying it was turf-related. 

Congrats @nfl. How many more players have to get hurt on ARTIFICIAL TURF??! You care more about soccer players than us. You plan to remove all artificial turf for the World Cup coming up. So clearly it’s feasible.
I’m sick of this..Do better!

— David Bakhtiari (@DavidBakhtiari)

This is not a new issue, but the league has maintained it’s doing everything it can to protect its players — even working closely with “biomechanical engineers,” per NFL executive VP for health and safety innovation Jeff Miller.

“We work very closely with the [NFL] Players Association on surface research,” Miller told reporters on a recent conference call. “We share all the injury information. They have all the same data we have. … We have stadiums with natural grass where there’s a lower injury rate than synthetic surfaces, and we have synthetic surfaces where the injury rate is lower. … Our effort is to try to drive down those rates on both surfaces. Hopefully in the next couple years we’ll see some progress in those spaces.”

Expect this playing-surface battle to continue, and it sounds like Howell is going to make this push a priority. 

This content was originally published here.

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