Ohio Stadium’s turf is at the center of an NFL controversy

The NFL Players Association wants to ban Ohio Stadium’s newly installed turf.

NFLPA president and Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter called for a ban and replacement of all NFL fields using split film turf, including Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Ohio State installed split film turf in June.

Tretter said that split film fields have statistically higher rates of in-game injuries compared to all other surfaces in terms of non-contact injuries, lost time injuries, lower extremity injuries and foot and ankle injuries.

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Ohio State has seen several of its star players sidelined this year.

TreVeyon Henderson, for example, was Ohio State’s leading rusher this season before he left Ohio State’s Week 3 win over Toledo with an apparent injury. He has been in and out of the lineup ever since.

After recording 147 rushing yards on 15 carries in the first half against Indiana, running back Miyan Williams was taken to the locker room on a stretcher, and when he returned to the sideline, he was on crutches with a walking boot on his right foot.

Wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba is out after injuring his hamstring in the opener against Notre Dame. It is unknown when or if he will return to the Buckeyes this season.

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When was Ohio Stadium’s turf replaced?

Ohio Stadium’s turf was replaced in June with 85,555 square feet of “Shaw’s Momentum Pro” turf by the Motz Group and Shaw Sports Turf that uses split film technology to maintain a “sturdy, stable and reliable playing surface so athletes can play consistently in peak conditions. .”

Slit film is one of three different types of turf, along with monofilament and bifilament.

November 12, 2022;  Columbus, Ohio, United States of America;  Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback CJ Stroud (7) warms up alongside other quarterbacks and receivers during the second half of an NCAA football game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

November 12, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, United States of America; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback CJ Stroud (7) warms up alongside other quarterbacks and receivers during the second half of an NCAA football game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

Newly installed Ohio Stadium turf was also installed on Ohio State’s practice field at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

While Ohio State football coach Ryan Day was not aware of the NFL Players Association effort, OSU spokesman Jerry Emig said the athletic department had discussions about the newly installed field at Ohio Stadium. However, those discussions were not related to the replacement of the turf.

Emig also said the athletic department checks the turf fields for safety twice a year.

The Motz Group did not respond to a request for comment.

The Bengals and Colts are two of seven NFL teams that use split-film turf along with the New York Giants, New York Jets, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints.

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NFL players, such as former Ohio State and San Francisco 49ers DE Nick Bosa and Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp, have advocated for changes on social media using the hashtag “safer fields”

One former NFL player is especially sure about it.

“It needs to change immediately,” said Amazon analyst and NFLPA vice president Richard Sherman. “Player safety is the champion of the league. And when there is clear evidence that a playing surface is dangerous – there have been nine more serious injuries on this surface than even the other turfs – because, you need to change it now. You get on him immediately. 15-18 more injuries this season So the data they compiled this season didn’t count … As a player, there’s no reason to take that kind of risk These are outdoor stadiums … They can change that The indoor stadiums – cool, there’s an argument But when you can change the surface, it should be grass.

Jeff Miller, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications, public affairs and policy, said in a statement that there was “no difference” in the number of injuries on grass compared to artificial surfaces.

“While split-film surfaces, one type of synthetic material, cause 2-3 more injuries per year, most of them are ankle sprains – a low-load injury – but split-film sees a lower rate of high-load ACL injuries. compared to other synthetic fields,” Miller said. “As a result, the league and NFLPA experts did not recommend any changes to surfaces at the meeting but agreed that further study is needed.”

Ohio State players had rave reviews of the new Ohio Stadium turf

Heading into 2022, Henderson, who has been plagued by injuries throughout the season and was seen wearing walking boots on the sideline during the Buckeyes’ win against Indiana, said the newly installed turf was “much better” and he said he used to roll his ankle “out of nowhere” on the old surface.

“It’s softer,” Henderson said. “A lot of the turf last year was very hard. It’s safer and we’re able to cut better.”

Smith-Njigba, who has played in three games due to a hamstring injury, also praised the new playing surface.

“It looks good, and it feels good,” he said. “I have more confidence in my cuts. We were slipping a bit last year, but (there’s) more confidence now.”

Ohio State 2022 football schedule

  • September 3: Ohio State 21, Notre Dame 10

  • September 10: Ohio State 45, Arkansas State 12

  • 17 September: Ohio State 77, Toledo 21

  • 24 September: Ohio State 52, Wisconsin 21

  • 1 October: Ohio State 49, Rutgers 10

  • October 8: Ohio State 49, Michigan State 20

  • 22 October: Ohio State 54, Iowa 10

  • 29 October: Ohio State 44, Penn State 31

  • November 5: Ohio State 21, Northwestern 7

  • November 12: Ohio State 56, Indiana 14

  • 19 November: Ohio State vs. Maryland, College Park, Md., 3:30 p.m., ABC

  • November 26: Ohio State vs. Michigan, Columbus, Ohio, noon, FOX

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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio State stadium has split film turf, NFLPA wants to ban it

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