Lions safety Tracy Walker takes opportunities to blast field condition at US Bank Stadium

SideLion Report

As the debate over NFL field surfaces gets headlines, Lions safety Tracy Walker took a couple opportunities to blast the field condition at US Bank Stadium.

Football is an inherently violent sport, and unfortunate injuries happen. Sometimes the scariest injuries occur when someone falls to the ground without being contacted by another player. That’s what happened to Lions safety Tracy Walker back in Week 3 against the Minnesota Vikings, when he suffered a season-ending torn Achilles.

Depending on what you see, data/anecdotes about injuries on artifical surfaces vs. grass either presents a meaningful difference or it doesn’t–as in more non-contact injuries on artificial surfaces. However, simply planting or landing wrong on a harder, less-forgiving artificial surface seems to correlate easily to torn ACLs, torn Achilles’ and the like.

Players and people not working for an NFL media arm have been calling for a change to playing surfaces across the league. There are seven teams, in six stadiums, who play on what’s called “Slit Film” turf–the Lions, Giants, Jets, Vikings, Saints, Colts and Bengals.

NFLPA president JC Trotter wrote recently on the union’s website.

The data supports the anecdotes you’ll hear from me and other players: artificial turf is significantly harder on the body than grass. Based on NFL injury data collected from 2012 to 2018, not only was the contact injury rate for lower extremities higher during practices and games held on artificial turf, NFL players consistently experienced a much higher rate of non-contact lower extremity injuries on turf compared to natural surfaces. Specifically, players have a 28% higher rate of non-contact lower extremity injuries when playing on artificial turf. Of those non-contact injuries, players have a 32% higher rate of non-contact knee injuries on turf and a staggering 69% higher rate of non-contact foot/ankle injuries on turf compared to grass,”

Tracy Walker blasts US Bank Stadium turf in wake of his major season-ending injury

Seeing a couple opportunities to comment on the field surface topic/controversy, Walker weighed in.

After commenting on Calais Campbell’s tweet, almost exactly 24 hours after if the timestamps are accurate, Walker had a more profane reaction to a separate tweet from a writer.

The field surface thing is pushing toward being a prominent offseason topic for the NFL to deal with, if it takes until the offseason. It seems like an easy enough fix, taking a prominent step to protect players from major injuries with grass surfaces in every stadium. But getting owners to part with a piece of their fortunes is always met with resistance, and this will be no different.

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