October 6th, 2020
ATTN: JC Tretter, NFLPA President
NFL Players Association
1133 20th St NW
Washington, DC 20036
CC: Team Owners, University and High School Athletic Directors, Sports Field Managers, Coaches, Athletes, Parents
SUBJECT: TPI Statement on NFLPA’s Statement on Field Safety
Dear President Tretter,
We commend you for your recent NFLPA President’s statement on September 30th, 2020 titled “Only Natural Grass Can Level the NFL’s Playing Field”. We too have been closely following recent research published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine in 2019 which demonstrates the increased rate of lower body injuries to NFL and NCAA athletes when playing on artificial turf. While we recognize the need for multi-purpose venues in some scenarios, it is important to challenge team owners, university athletic directors, and others with one fundamental question. Do we want our athletes playing in a concert venue, or do we want to host concerts and other events in an athletic venue? If the answer is the latter, then there is little doubt that natural grass is the safest proven choice.
Our U.S and International sod-producing members meet this demand daily by producing farm-fresh natural grass for professional, university, and amateur sports venues worldwide. They have proven time and again that they can rise to the challenge in grassing indoor and outdoor stadiums for NFL and NCAA football games, professional soccer matches, special events and more. Advancements in grass varieties, harvesting techniques, planting methods, shipping, and equipment allow natural grass sod producers to provide the safest possible playing surface often in as little as a few days. After speaking with several of our members who produce natural grass sod for NFL and collegiate stadiums, they assure me that with proper planning and communication that they could provide natural grass fields for all NFL games.
On behalf of TPI’s staff and Board of Directors, we welcome this prioritization on player safety, and we encourage others to follow your lead. We write today to re-assure athletes, owners, athletic directors, coaches, and sports field managers everywhere that our network of professional, knowledgeable, and resourceful natural grass sod producers are prepared and ready to meet this demand head-on.
Casey Reynolds, PhD
Executive Director, Turfgrass Producers International
To read the full statement from NFLPA President Tretter as well as to view TPI Resources on recent American Journal of Sports Medicine research on field safety click the links below.