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NFL

New York’s MetLife, the cursed NFL stadium

MetLife Stadium in New York has seen 17 very serious injuries in just three seasons. Artificial grass could be one of the main causes.

Update:
MetLife Stadium in New York has seen 17 very serious injuries in just three seasons. Artificial grass could be one of the main causes.

On Saturday afternoon, we learned that Miami Dolphins defensive end Jaelan Phillips will miss the rest of the season. Philips suffered a torn Achilles tendon in the 34-13 win against New York Nets at the MetLife Stadium in New York City - the very same stadium that Aaron Rodgers suffered a similar injury at the beginning of the season.

But the coincidences doesn’t stop there. As confirmed by NBC, those of Phillips and Rodgers are just the latest in a long list of serious injuries that have occurred at MetLife Stadium. Many professionals have confessed that they don’t like playing at the stadium - or on the artificial grass installed for NFL games, a very controversial move as among the highest level athletes, most prefer to play on traditional, natural grass.

Study links injuries to artificial playing surfaces

Statistical data supports the idea that artificial grass is more harmful. According to NFL data, 7 of the 10 stadiums with the highest number of injuries between the 2017 and 2022 seasons used this synthetic surface. But this data does not only apply to professional sports. According to a study conducted by Washington University (St Louis), it was observed that college athletes were 58% more likely to suffer injuries on artificial turf.

17 injuries at MetLife Stadium in the NFL since 2020

  • 2023 - Jaelan Phillips (Achilles)
  • 2023 - Aaron Rodgers (Achilles)
  • 2022 - Darrian Beavers (cruciate ligament)
  • 2022 - Marcu McKethan (cruciate ligament)
  • 2022 - Sterling Shepard (cruciate ligament)
  • 2022 - Wan’Dale Robinson (cruciate ligament)
  • 2022 - Aaron Robinson (cruciate ligament)
  • 2021 - Blake Martinez (cruciate ligament)
  • 2021 - Jabrill Peppers (cruciate ligament)
  • 2021 -Levine Toilolo (cruciate ligament)
  • 2021 - Shane Lemieux (patellar tendon)
  • 2021 - Rodarius Williams (cruciate ligament)
  • 2021 - T.J. Brunson (cruciate ligament)
  • 2021 - Jonathan Harrison (Achilles)
  • 2021 - Matt Peart (cruciate ligament)
  • 2020 - Nick Bosa (cruciate ligament)
  • 2020 - Solomon Thomas (cruciate ligament)

Phillips’ ACL tear - the latest injury on an artificial playing surface, has been noted by players and coaches, fueling the debate about the investment by large franchises on synthetic surfaces. Despite the fact that on many occasions these fields are installed to reduce costs and facilitate care work in areas where the climate is usually unfavorable for a natural, grass surface, the truth is that it actually increases costs for the damage it causes, wiping out any savings that it might make.

In just a few months, the NFL will have to meet with the Players Association to negotiate the league’s new agreement. In this meeting, almost certainly, one of the main points will be related to the playing surfaces and regulations that protect players’ fitness, well being and as a result, the prosperity of their careers.

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