NFL Players’ Association President JC Tretter Says Evidence Points To Less NFL Injuries On Natural Grass

An Arizona Cardinals player tackles a 49er

Getty Image / Douglas Stringer

The NFL has gone to great lengths to protect its players in the last decade or so. They’ve banned a multitude of types of hits, changed kickoffs to protect players, and has instituted concussion protocols that become stricter every year amid research showing the damage of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) to players’ brains.

But, one thing the league has not done much to address is field conditions and surface. Field conditions stepped into the spotlight during the Super Bowl in February when the field looked terrible.

Something else that has been getting attention lately is a possible difference in injury rates on fields with artificial turf and natural grass. Some players have insinuated that injuries are happening more frequently on turf.

And, NFLPA President JC Tretter says he has data that says turf is causing injuries at a higher rate than grass. Here are details from Pro Football Talk.

In fact, NFLPA President J.C. Tretter says that the data from 2022 makes it clearer than ever that grass is safer than artificial turf.

“We got interesting data, I don’t think it’s been put out there, I think it will be out there in the coming weeks,” Tretter told Pat McAfee. “The data this past year show . . . there is a very large gap between the two surfaces. They quickly glanced over that at the league meetings and didn’t really dive into those details this past week, but there is a large difference between grass and turf. The players are very clear what they want.”

Tretter noted that multiple NFL stadiums that use artificial turf will install temporary grass fields when they host World Cup matches in 2026.

“When the World Cup comes to town, all these owners roll out the green carpet for all these soccer teams to play on grass at their stadiums, and then roll it back out to put the turf back down for their employees to play on,” Tretter said.

He raises a good point. European soccer players flat-out refuse to play on turf, so when they come here to play in exhibitions or international tournaments, NFL owners put out grass. Why can’t they for players, who overwhelmingly prefer grass?

Garrett Carr
Garrett Carr is a recent graduate of Penn State University. He lives and dies Penn State football, wrestling, and the New York Mets.