Athletes are advocating for grass over turf during a game


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The difference in appearance between turf (right) and grass (left).

By: Massimo del Pozo, Reporter

Over the last 50 years, field turf has been more predominantly chosen due to its landscaping benefits. Despite this athletes are susceptible to injury, so the subject of turf’s true value arises.

History and its use

In 1966, artificial turf was introduced to everyone by the Astrodome, a newly constructed stadium home of the Houston Astros. The lack of sunlight from the roof being closed was the main reason it was installed. Ever since this, the environmentally friendly option was used more, as it can even withstand the wear and tear of games better.

Playing on artificial turf has many benefits which are why organizations use them over grass. The fact that it is much simpler to maintain turf over glass is the biggest reason. Mowing, watering, and fertilizing grass fields can be time- and money-consuming tasks. Sports teams save a lot of money on a yearly basis by switching to artificial turf because of the far less upkeep. Also, artificial turf is able to be sustainable in all weather conditions. Whereas grass fields are usually damaged by extreme weather and aren’t nearly as durable. 

High school soccer player Michael Ramirez, states “Yeah, it is really rough when it comes to dealing with rain while playing on the pitch, which is an immense difference from what turf can withstand.”

Why athletes prefer grass

There are several reasons why natural grass is the best field for athletic competition. Grass is significantly softer than artificial turf which makes it more comfortable. This makes it able to absorb the impact of falls and dives. It also has a tendency to stay cooler on hot days, which makes it more enjoyable to play on than turf. Even grass benefits fans by being aesthetically pleasing to the eye rather than 

All these factors are accounted for when dealing with injuries. Real grass is proven to be able to reduce wear and tear on players’ bodies, providing better footing. The hard surface of turf can cause players to slip or even slide which can lead to lower body injuries. 

Colonia football player Michael Ebner, confirms this by stating, “I prefer grass over turf because the grass is easier to play in as well as reducing abuse on my body”

Statistics on Injury

National Football League (NFL) has been known for using artificial turf more than most sports. This has caused a lot of concerns from its players who want a firm, fast surface to play on. Most players have been requesting the option of making all turf fields back to the natural grass they had originally. Currently, one-half of all NFL teams play on real grass.

The NFL Players Association has done research that leads to the topic of concern. When playing on artificial turf, lower extremity injuries without contact occur at a rate that is 28% higher.  On turf, the risk of a non-contact injury to the knee is 32% higher, and a 69% higher chance of non-contact foot or ankle injury.

It is truly up to each NFL team to decide what field they should be playing on. They have to at some point take into consideration player safety, which can be detrimental to their team’s success by sustaining more injuries. We will have to just wait and see if change really happens.