Could Artificial Turf Lead to Another NFL Lawsuit?
Roughly 11 years ago, thousands of ex-NFL players filed a lawsuit against the National Football League over the life-altering head injuries they received and alleging the league withheld and suppressed information about head injuries. The case was settled and, in addition to financial compensation, the NFL changed the way it viewed head injuries, including implementing a concussion protocol that involves independent observers.
Is a similar lawsuit on the horizon?
While head injuries are obviously a much bigger concern, torn ACLs and various other injuries caused by the artificial turf in 14 NFL stadium are arguably a close second. Injuries happen in football, but many artificial turf-related injuries happen without the player receiving any sort of contact. This includes the torn ACL sustained by St. Louis Rams' receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. during the Super Bowl in February, when he was wide open on a pass and dropped to the ground injured.
Even if an injury isn't career-ending, a torn ACL or similar injury could reduce a player's earning potential by millions of dollars. Beckham, for example, is still unsigned as he rehabs his injury and, if he does eventually make a roster, it will likely be at a much smaller amount than he would have received during the offseason had he been healthy.
The issues with artificial turf aren't new and have been the topic of discussion in the past as well. However, even though a number of players have complained about it publicly, there seems to be no real movement from the NFL. Plus, with more teams electing to build domes rather than outdoor stadiums, the number with fake grass could grow. It might require legal action to correct the problem.