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Study finds ACL injuries more common on FieldTurf

The NFL’s Injury and Safety Panel presented a study today finding that anterior cruciate ligament injuries happened 88 percent more often in games played on FieldTurf than in games played on grass, the Associated Press is reporting.

Although that sounds like a fairly strong argument for replacing FieldTurf with grass in NFL stadiums, the league says further study is needed.

“The paper is designed to stimulate further discussion, inquiry, and improvements in playing surfaces,” league spokesman Greg Aiello said. “It does not draw any conclusions about the cause of the injuries analyzed. Our panel states in the report that additional analyses, data from future NFL seasons, and studies of injury rates on synthetic turf and natural grass surfaces, including for other athletic populations and levels of football, are needed before any conclusions can be drawn or recommendations made.”

The panel, which is chaired by Jets team orthopedist Dr. Elliott Hershman, presented its findings to owners, the players’ union and the companies that make artificial turf, of which FieldTurf is the largest.

The panel also found that sprained ankles happen more frequently on FieldTurf, but FieldTurf President Eric Daliere said the study was flawed.

“I don’t put a lot of weight in it and think it is unfortunate it is coming out this way at this time,” Daliere said.