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The Lion's Roar

Sugar and Spice
Sugar and Spice
February 15, 2024
Carrie
Carrie
February 15, 2024

Leg Injuries in Football – What’s to blame?

The Athletes that make up the National Football League have been begging the league for years to do something about the role that fields made out of artificial turf have played in season ending leg injuries. Here at LHS, we have an artificial turf field that our football program plays on four times a season for our home matchups. Many other programs, including Soccer, Field Hockey, and Lacrosse, all play their home games on the same field. This could pose an issue, although it has thankfully not affected us to an extreme extent yet. But even without the threat of it happening to someone that you know, concern should still exist. 

A study done by the National Center of Health Research looked into knee injuries throughout the three divisions of NCAA College Football over the course of a decade. This study showed that during this period, PCL tears were almost three times more common on turf fields than they were on grass fields. Through the lower two divisions, ACL tears were almost two times more likely to occur, with 142 ACL tears occurring on turf compared to 111 on grass, despite many more grass fields than turf. Overall, the study showed that non contact injuries occur 32% more often on turf fields, showing that the backlash that many levels of football have had is certainly warranted. 

Aaron Rodgers, one of the NFL’s biggest name stars who just left his old team for the shiny new and improved big media market New York Jets, suffered a season ending achilles injury in a non-contact situation just a handful of plays into his young season. This put the ballclub in a position where the only option that they had was to bring back former 2nd overall pick Zach WIlson at Quarterback from the bench for the remainder of the season. The Jets have long been the laughing stock of the NFL, not having a win over their biggest rivals, the New England Patriots, since the 2015 season, and havent won against them in regulation since 2010, which was also the last time the team reached the postseason. The Jets entered the season with high aspirations, a young defense, and a confident coaching staff, only to have their season wiped away from them in the matter of minutes. 

Overall, 17 of the league’s 32 teams play their home games with turf fields, an overall count of 15 of the league’s 30 venues. Both the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams share their stadiums with their cross conference counterparts,, which adds to these numbers. Out of the stadiums that have hosted the Super Bowl over the last 10 years, these venues are also mostly split. Both the Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills are expected to open new home venues sometime over the next handful of seasons. While the Bills currently have no plans as to what the field will consist of, Tennessee ownership is expected to make their new home field made out of Synthetic Turf, much to the displeasure of the team’s athletes. 

Will these concerns that are backed up by multiple sources cause a massive change throughout all ranks of athletics, or will the NFL and other large entities continue to do what they have been doing over the last few years? Only time will tell, but with what everyone wants, you would think that the league would have given in by now. Maybe they just don’t care as much as advertised? Technique is likely not the best way to fix this issue, as it hasn’t yet. Creating new rules is a starting point, but much more work needs to be done before the league even considers doing right by their athletes. 

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Garrett Racine, Lion's Roar Staff

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