“Grass is just better for you, it’s more forgiving,”: Panthers player express concerns about turf fields in the NFL

“Turf injuries, they’re really unnecessary,” said Tommy Tremble
Bank of America Stadium is one of several stadiums in the NFL with synthetic turf and Panthers players have concerns about it.
Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 6:44 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - There’s growing concern from NFL players about injuries resulting from playing on artificial turf.

Bank of America Stadium is one of several stadiums in the NFL with synthetic turf and Panthers players have concerns about it.

Tommy Tremble, the Panthers tight end said, “turf injuries, they’re really unnecessary,”

The turf issue is one that has NFL players across the league united for a common cause, for them, it’s ensuring the field playing conditions are safe and less prone to career-ending injuries.

“Grass is just better for you, it’s more forgiving,” said Baker Mayfield, the Panthers quarterback.

Concerns about artificial turf versus grass fields have been on the mind of players this week after the NFL released a report showing there wasn’t a large difference in injuries when comparing both.

Mayfield added, “I do know that grass is much better for you than turf is despite what the studies are, I would like to know who’s doing those studies.”

The Synthetic Turf Council Statement: “Our number one goal is to make sure that players and communities can safely enjoy and benefit from synthetic turf systems. Our members maintain a commitment to the highest levels of safety for our products, and the health and welfare for the millions of people that play every day on resilient, high performance synthetic turf. As an industry, we provide guidance for our members and their customers to maintain fields to the highest standards, including regular and appropriate maintenance.”

Panthers Cornerback, CJ Henderson said, “I think turf is really not good as far guys as far as joints, definitely joint plains.”

WBTV talked to a tuft grass expert, and he agrees with the players.

“The natural grass has a tendency to sheer and rip out when you’re playing football, when the cleats are in that grass and something has got to give and that artificial grass is less likely to give when somebody’s foot is getting twisted or is caught,” said John Royals, an Instructor of Turf Grass Management Technology at Central Piedmont Community College.

“Getting your foot stuck in the ground in certain positions, that’s what causes almost… career-ending injuries and I feel like people who played this game their entire life, it just isn’t fair,” said Tremble.

The NFL Players Association is pushing the league to ban slit film turf, which is used in six stadiums, the players association believes this type of turf is prone to more injuries for players.

JC Tretter, the president of the NFLPA wrote in a column: “just like there are different types of grass, there are also different types of turf (Monofilament, Dual fiber, Slit film). The slit film playing surface has statistically higher in-game injury rates compared to all other surfaces…”

According to the NFL Players Association, seven teams (6 Stadiums) use slit film in their stadiums. Those teams include the Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals, and the NY Giants and NY Jets which share a stadium.

Bank of America Stadium does not use slit film turf, The Panthers’ home field uses a different turf made by FieldTurf. The type of turf by the company is called Vertex CORE which was installed in 2021. Despite the difference in turf, players believe natural grass is the better route.

Tremble said, “as a professional, billion-dollar business, we really have the opportunity to help the players and the more we’re on the field, the more money everyone makes.”

Tremble tells WBTV players have talked with David Tepper, the owner of the Panthers about turf concerns and their feedback was welcomed from the players. Players feel optimistic change will happen at Bank of America Stadium and throughout the league.