The Debate Current Research and Marketing suggests that Synthetic Turf performs comparably to Natural Turf Footing Minor Injuries Major Injuries Hardness Heat of Playing Surface Longevity
The Claims “Brock PowerBase has been proven to prevent concussions by 50% compared to a pristine natural grass field.” - Brock Press Release for Patriots training facility “American professional football games played on FieldTurf have higher lower extremity injury rates.” FieldTurf claims that their product is equal to, or better than natural grass “Dr. Bradley reported that 82% of ACL injuries occurring during practice happened on grass while only 18% occurred on Field-Turf.”
The Reality Players were 27% more likely to sustain a lower extremity injury when the game was played on artificial FieldTurf instead of the real thing (P<0.01), according to Elliott Hershman, MD, of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. More specifically, there was an 88% increased risk ofan injury to the anterior cruciate ligament and a 32%increased risk of an eversion ankle sprain whenplaying on FieldTurf (P<0.01 for both), Hershmanreported at the American Academy of OrthopaedicSurgeons meeting here. AAOS: Artificial Turf Injuries Still More Likely in NFL By Todd Neale, Staff Writer, MedPage Today Published: March 15, 2010
NFL Surfaces Ranking Artificial Natural 1 INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: LUCAS OIL STADIUM 2 NEW YORK JETS/GIANTS: NEW MEADOWLANDS STADIUM 3 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: LOUISIANA SUPERDOME 4 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: QWEST FIELD 5 DALLAS COWBOYS: COWBOYS STADIUM 6 ATLANTA FALCONS: GEORGIA DOME 7 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: GILLETTE STADIUM 8 DETROIT LIONS: FORD FIELD 9 BALTIMORE RAVENS: M&T BANK STADIUM 10 ST.LOUIS RAMS: EDWARD JONES DOME 11 CINCINNATI BENGALS: PAUL BROWN STADIUM 12 MINNESOTA VIKINGS: METRODOME 13 BUFFALO BILLS: RALPH WILSON STADIUM 1 ARIZONA CARDINALS:UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX STDM 2 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: RAYMOND JAMES STDM 3 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: QUALCOMM STADIUM 4 CAROLINA PANTHERS: BANK OF AMERICA STADIUM 5 GREEN BAY PACKERS: LAMBEAU FIELD 6 MIAMI DOLPHINS: SUN LIFE STADIUM 7 HOUSTON TEXANS: RELIANT STADIUM 8 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: EVERBANK FIELD 9 DENVER BRONCOS: INVESCO FIELD AT MILE HIGH 10 TENNESSEE TITANS: LP FIELD 11 WASHINGTON REDSKINS: FEDEX FIELD 12 SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: CANDLESTICK PARK 13 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: ARROWHEAD STADIUM 14 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: LINCOLN FINANCIAL FIELD 15 PITTSBURGH STEELERS: HEINZ FIELD 16 CLEVELAND BROWNS: CLEVELAND BROWNS STDM 17 CHICAGO BEARS: SOLDIER FIELD 18 OAKLAND RAIDERS: OAKLAND COLISEUM
Which field is most likely to contribute to injury? 20102008 • Artificial………….. 82.4% 84.8% • Natural …………… 15.9% 13.7%
Which surface is most likely to cause soreness and fatigue? 20102008 • Artificial…………… 89.1% 91% • Natural …………… 9.2% 7.2%
Which surface do you think is most likely to shorten your career? 20102008 • Artificial ………. 89.7% 92.6% • Natural ………. 7.6% 5.3%
Which surface do think is more likely to negatively affect your life after football? 20102008 • Artificial ………. 64.4% 61.6% • Natural ………. 3.6% 2.6% • Neither ………. 29.7% 35.8%
What do you attribute poor fields too? 20102008 • Multiple Use Facility 35% N/A • Weather ……………….. 19.6% N/A • Stadium Maintenance 18.6% N/A Other Options: Bad Design, Baseball Fields, Hardness, Owners, Quality of Grass, Dirty, Money
What type of field do you prefer to play on? 20102008 • Natural ………. 69.4% 71.7% • Artificial ………. 14.3% 15% • No Preference 9% 11% Nearly 5 times more players prefer natural rather than artificial!
Do you think there should be a league-wide standard that teams should have to meet in order to be eligible for games? 20102008 • Yes ……………….. 83.8% N/A • No ………………. 6.3% N/A • No Preference 9.9% N/A
How significant a role do you believe NFL grounds keepers play in the performance of artificial infilled playing surfaces? 20102008 • Very Significant ……… 23.7% 24.7% • Some What Significant 43.6% 49.2% • Not Significant ………. 17.7% 18.1% • No Opinion ……………. 15.0% 8.1%
The Baltimore Ravens "Turf fields in general are better than the old turf fields, but there's nothing like grass," cornerback DomoniqueFoxworth said. Grass "is harder to maintain. I think it's more difficult for a reason — because it's safer." The safety issue came into question last season, when three players (Ravens cornerbacks Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb as well as Detroit Lions running back Kevin Smith) were lost for the season after tearing knee ligaments without being hit. Webb said his injury was not caused by the turf but said the artificial surface did play a role with Smith. Washington isn't sure whether the turf was a factor in his tearing his anterior cruciate ligament. "I think [the turf at M&T Bank Stadium is] one of the best. I've never had a problem with it," Washington said. "Your footing is good at our stadium, but sometimes it's too good. Sometimes it won't give. But I think it's definitely one of the best. I've never had a problem other than this injury. So I can continue playing on it, but any NFL player is all for natural grass.“ May 06, 2010|By Jamison Hensley | The Baltimore Sun
Pittsburgh Steelers “Poster Child” Game for Artificial Turf Supporters
The Dilemma • Multiple Events • Revenue • Owners and Profits • Poor Stadium Design • The Concussion Issue • And…
The Challenge • How canwe influence the NFL? • How canwe influence sports turf to “raise the bar” on a broad level? • How can we influence our local markets?
Summary • We are not going to get an endorsement by the NFL or the NFLPA. • The NFL does influence collegiate, high school, and municipal field choices. • All of the studies and research cannot reflect the reality of how the players feel about the surface they play on – THEY OVERWHELMINGLY PREFER NATURAL GRASS. • We all have an obligation to help improve natural turf playing conditions in our circle of influence.