By Kyle Gehman
The Roar (Leander, Texas)
You slide right onto the ground to get the ball, dive for the catch, lunge to make the tackle. You make the play but after the adrenaline and excitement wears off you notice blood trickling down your skin with a huge turf burn throbbing on that spot.
With head injuries and concussions being the major discussion in the sports medicine world the use of turf fields has been largely ignored for too long. Turf causes numerous injuries and yet kids and even professionals are forced to play on this hazard. Last summer, several United States players protested and created a petition against the Women’s 2015 FIFA World Cup being played on turf while the men use grass. The petition gathered 24,154 signatures and the players filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against FIFA but it was turned down and the event was held on turf fields.
While playing sports in high school I’ve known countless athletes who have walked into class with huge bandages covering large swollen turf burns and the fact is all of this could be avoided if turf fields were replaced by grass fields. Even worse the black ground up tire pellets have been proven to give off carcinogens, or toxins that can cause cancer according to Environment and Human Health Inc.
Besides injuries turf fields are obviously different surfaces than grass and that makes balls have different types of reactions when it hits the ground. In soccer it makes the ball bounce higher, roll farther, and it has an unnatural spin when it hits the ground. I’ve played on countless grass fields and countless turf fields and I’ve never been an advocate for turf especially for this reason.
The main argument for schools is that it is expensive to maintain a grass field and while it is true that water is expensive, especially here in Texas, installing turf fields can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and still can cause injuries, cancer and changes how the ball moves. Installing grass fields would help students be better protected and play their sports without fear of tearing up their bodies.
While grass might be expensive it is worth the investment to prevent all of the problems that artificial turf brings. We should not force students and others to play on these proven dangerous fields.
Featured Image Source: The Roar