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Artificial turf: the ACL killer

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It was gameday, the first gameday of the year for my DGS sophomore football team. The day I had waited all season long for and worked hard in the weightroom for. A season that I could not wait to start.


This season did not last very long for me. It lasted all of about 3 quarters of football until I suffered a season ending ACL tear on the turf that my high school spent over $1 million dollars on. High schools need to stop installing artificial turf and use real grass.


Artificial turf has a polyester top layer of grass looking substance. Underneath is mini rubber pellets that are made from recycled rubber tires. It is great that they are finding a way to reuse old tires, but a football field is not the place to recycle.


When I tore my ACL, I was changing direction to go tackle the wide receiver from the other team. As I hit the wide receiver, I fell to the ground with with my left foot staying in the turf and my knee twisting the opposite way. My ACL was ruptured because my foot was sucked in by rubber pellets below the top layer of polyester.


My sister had torn her ACL on the same turf that I did,  three years prior. When she tore her ACL, I was in the stands watching her varsity soccer game. Her injury was a non contact injury. She was going to change directions, and her cleat got sucked in by rubber pellets below the top layer.  


An NFL panel found in a study done that an ACL tear is 88 percent more likely to happen on turf than grass based on the games they studied over a 6 year period. Recently NFL players have struggled to recover from these injuries.


Robert Griffin III went from being rookie of the year in 2013 to being out of a job in 2017. This was due to him never being able to recover fully from an ACL tear that he suffered on FedEX field’s artificial turf, in his first ever playoff game.


Artificial turf supporters argue that having an artificial turf field allows schools to get up to 4 times the use out of it compared to a grass field. I would agree that having a turf field does allow for more usage; however, does getting more usage out of a field make the countless number of knee injuries that occur simply because of the field surface worth it?


Just ask someone who has torn their ACL. Ever since my ACL tear in 2015, I have had 2 surgeries, over 18 months of therapy and a knee that still locks up after a long car ride. Not to mention that I have never gotten back to playing football, the game I loved and enjoyed for 8 years of my life.


District 99 has a master facility plan that includes installing a second turf field that our brother, sisters, or even our kids could get to practice or play sports on in the future. If this plan goes through that adds just another way that someone you know can suffer a knee injury. Don’t let your local high school install artificial turf.

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Artificial turf: the ACL killer